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Novak Djokovic to be released from detention as Australian judge revokes visa cancellation

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Tennis star Novak Djokovic has won his court battle in Australia after his visa was canceled due to his Covid-19 vaccination status ahead of the Australian Open.

Australian Federal Judge Anthony Kelly read out the ruling in an emergency virtual court hearing Monday. “The court will order as follows: Paragraph 1, the decision of the delegate to cancel the applicant’s temporary activity subclass 048 visa made on 6 January 2022, be quashed,” he said.

Djokovic fans who had gathered outside the hotel where the world tennis champion was detained burst into cheers and patriotic Serbian songs when the news was announced.

This means that Djokovic’s visa remains valid. He will be released from detention and will be given back his passport and other belongings confiscated at the time of detention.

The 34-year-old Serbian national was detained in an immigration facility last week after arriving in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open for what officials said violated the country’s strict entry rules that require visitors be vaccinated against Covid-19. Djokovic, a vocal vaccine skeptic aiming for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, had his visa revoked and passport confiscated after customs officials decided he did not have sufficient medical justification for a vaccine exemption.

Supporters of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rally outside the Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, January 6, 2022.
Supporters of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rally outside the Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, January 6, 2022.
Loren Elliott | Reuters
Judge Kelly made points in Djokovic’s defense Monday, demanding to know what more the athlete could have done to meet Australia’s entry requirements. The government on Monday acknowledged that it did not give Djokovic and his team sufficient time to react after informing him of his visa cancellation.

But the saga is not over — Australia’s immigration minister can still personally step in and cancel his visa regardless on new grounds. If the minister, Alex Hawke, decides to take that action, Djokovic could be facing a renewed court fight and potentially up to a three-year ban on playing tennis in Australia.

The story has inflamed debate around vaccine requirements and put a spotlight on Australia’s strict Covid measures, which have seen Australians endure some of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. While the case infuriated Djokovic fans in the country and around the world, many in Australia bristled at the idea of a millionaire tennis player being able to flout their country’s laws when no one else had been able to.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison came out in criticism of Djokovic, saying that “rules are rules.” But in a stroke of irony, Judge Kelly referred to that very statement in explaining his decision Monday: “We all play by the same rules. The reason why this minister for home affairs in this proceeding has agreed that the delegate’s decision [to cancel the visa] should be set aside is for the reasons set out in the notation. Stated in other terms: those rules were not observed.”

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Salah overtakes Ronaldo as Premier League’s highest-paid player with new deal

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Mohamed Salah’s new £400,000-per-week salary at Liverpool has made him the top earner in the Premier League, according to Daily Mail.

The Egyptian has ended speculation about his future, by putting pen to paper on a bumper deal until 2025.

Salah is now ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) and Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), who are on reported salaries of £385,000-per-week.

City’s new striker, Erling Haaland, is close behind on £375,000-per-week, the same wage as United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Salah, however, ranks as the fourth highest-paid footballer in the world.

The 30-year-old’s wages is dwarfed by those ahead of him, all of whom play for Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar comes in at third-place with £606,000-per-week.

Lionel Messi took a pay cut when he joined PSG from Barcelona last summer, but he’s still on a stunning salary of £960,000-per-week.

Messi was the biggest earner in the world until a few weeks ago, when he was overtaken by team-mate Kylian Mbappe, who signed a new three-year contract with the Ligue 1 side reported to be worth £1million-per-week.

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PSG to offload Messi

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Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly planning to offload forward Lionel Messi this summer, according to Spanish journalist Pedro Morata via PSG Talk.

Messi joined PSG last summer from his boyhood club, Barcelona.

The Argentine captain failed to live up to expectations, scoring just 11 goals from 34 games across competitions for PSG.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, though, has shown signs of a revival over the summer.

Messi was outstanding for La Albiceleste in the last few games, scoring goals for fun and winning the Finalissima.

However, it appears PSG have run out of patience with Messi.

PSG’s new sporting director Luis Campos is planning a squad revamp and is also ready to axe Messi.

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EPL: Arsenal agree deal with 25-year-old midfielder

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Youri Tielemans

Arsenal have agreed on personal terms with 25-year-old Leicester City midfielder, Youri Tielemans.

This claim was made by respected Journalist Ben Jacobs.

According to Jacobs, Arsenal have ‘put in a heck lot of work’ to secure a deal for the Belgium international.

Speaking to GiveMeSport, Ben Jacobs was quoted as saying: “Arsenal have put in a heck of a lot of work into Tielemans.

“They have agreed personal terms, and their talks with Tielemans date back for the best part of a year. But for whatever reason, Arsenal have decided not to swoop just yet and actually table a bid with Leicester City.

“And if they do so, and agree a fee at the lowest end £25 million, at the highest end £32 million, they will get Youri Tielemans.”

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