French government: All athletes must be vaccinated to compete in France

All athletes and sports professionals who wish to compete in France will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, government sources told AFP on Monday.

Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic
Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic. Photo: Oscar del Polzo/AFP

The French parliament has just given the go-ahead for the health pass to be converted into a vaccine pass, which means that anyone wishing to enter leisure and cultural venues – including sports grounds and stadiums – will have to be vaccinated.

This goes for the crowd, but also professional sports players and staff. The government has indicated that exemptions will not be made athletes who are based outside France.

The ministry said a new vaccine pass, “applies to everyone, to volunteers and to elite sportspeople, including those coming from abroad, until further notice.”

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said last week that certain events like the French Open could have a special exemption, when asked whether Novak Djokovic could play in the tournament, but this appears now to not be the case.

Questions had been asked about whether the unvaccinated Djokivic – recently deported from Australia – would be able to play in the French Open in May, but the ruling would affect all visiting sports professionals, including rugby teams from England, Ireland and Italy who are due to play in France during the Six Nations tournament in February and March.

Until now a health pass has been sufficient to enter sports grounds, which means unvaccinated players and fans were able to use a negative Covid test.

However once the vaccine pass enters into effect – scheduled to be later this week – only proof of vaccination will be affected.

French domestic sports teams were given the choice of either making sure that all their players and staff were fully vaccinated or playing behind closed doors.

Member comments

  1. The vaccine passport is not a proof of health, but a show of power. It’s disgraceful.
    The 4 EU countries (France, Italy, Germany and Austria) forcing this vaccine passport will soon be forced to admit that they have done wrong to their people. I can’t wait for that day to come.
    In the meanwhile, Djokovic should just show “the finger” to Macron and his cronies. They’ll beg him to come back soon.

    The Brits have done so well to Brexit. Freedom in the UK – well done to them!

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WATCH: Liverpool fans travel to France by dinghy after flights cancelled

The self-styled 'dinghy dozen' braved the waves in a desperate attempt to avoid missing the Champions League final.

WATCH: Liverpool fans travel to France by dinghy after flights cancelled

13 Liverpool fans arrived safely in Paris after crossing the English Channel by dinghy. 

After some of the group had their flight cancelled, the supporters gathered in Jersey where mega-fan Paddy O’Toole is based. 

“We felt sorry for the young lads so we had to do something,” he told The Liverpool Echo

The group decided to commission a Redbay Stormforce 950 – a motor-powered dinghy – to speed across the waves. 

In a video of the crossing, one passenger can be heard shouting: “We must be off our f*******g heads”. 

“We saw a few dolphins on the way and got the train to Rennes and then to Paris. A few more of are mates from Liverpool who live in Jersey heard we were going and joined on. We haven’t got a ticket between us,” said Paddy. 

Another member of the group later a picture on Facebook showing him and man called ‘Pegs’ enjoying pints in a Paris pub. 

Some 60,000 Liverpool fans are expected in Paris for the final against Real Madrid. 

READ MORE What Liverpool fans coming to Paris for the Champions League final need to know