Djokovic 2.0? – France to Ban Unvaxxed Foreign Athletes from Competition

England's centre Henry Slade is tackled by France's flanker Cameron Woki during the final of the Autumn Nations Cup international rugby union series between England and France at Twickenham, south west London on December 6, 2020. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

In what looks like a potential repeat of the Djokovic controversy in Australia, France has declared that unjabbed foreign athletes will not be permitted to play in the country.

France has declared that foreign athletes who are not vaccinated against the Chinese Coronavirus will not be permitted to take part in sporting competitions in the country.

The ban comes shortly after controversy over the vaccination status of tennis player Novak Djokovic resulted in him being deported from Australia.

Djokovic had been due to play at the French Open in May, but the nation’s ban has now cast doubt over the Serbian’s future participation in the tournament.

The French Government’s decision to implement the ban appears to be a U-Turn on a previous position according to AFP, with the nation’s Minister Delegate for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, having previously said that health bubbling would be enough for unjabbed players to be allowed to participate.

However, the minister delegate has now said that this is not the case, and that foreign professionals will need to be vaccinated in order to compete.

“The vaccination pass has been adopted,” Maracineanu wrote online. “As soon as the law is enacted, it will become mandatory to enter public buildings already subject to the health pass… for all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals.”

While the ban may in the future cause issues for Djokovic, it has more immediate ramifications for some unjabbed players partaking in the Six Nations international rugby competition.

Scheduled to kick-off in early February, three of the tournament’s fixtures are due to take place in Paris, involving the national teams of England, Italy, Ireland and France.

While it is unclear exactly which players the French ban will affect at this stage,  The Times had previously reported that Henry Slade, a center for England, would not be taking a COVID jab due to personal health reasons.

A statement put out on the website of Slayde’s club side clarified that the player’s refusal was personal, and solely as a result of his own previous adverse reactions to jabs, and that he had “no hidden agenda against the current, nationwide roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.”

“In no way whatsoever am I offering advice to the general public as to the pros and cons of the vaccination programme, everyone has a right to their own opinion on this matter, but given my past experiences, I wish to make the correct decision for myself,” Slade’s statement continued.

France has clamped down hard on unvaccinated individuals in recent weeks.

The country’s National Assembly passed a law on Sunday which will transform the nation’s so-called “Health Pass” into a vaccine pass.

As a result, from January 20, only those who are considered vaccinated and/or recovered from COVID will be able to avail themselves of a wide range of amenities, with proof of a negative test for the Chinese Coronavirus no longer being sufficient for entry to leisure activities, restaurants and bars.

Interregional public transport will also be off-limits for many unjabbed individuals in the country.

Meanwhile, over half a million French are set to lose access to their vaccine passes over their refusal to get boosted against COVID-19.

Since January 15th, all vaccinated over-18s in France are to have their passes disabled seven months after their last jab unless they receive a booster shot.

As a result, around 560,000 unboosted individuals now face losing access to newly restricted services in the country.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.