France passes law to require full vaccination for sports venues 

France's parliament has approved a law that will exclude unvaccinated people from all restaurants, sports arenas and other venues
France passes law to require full vaccination for sports venues 

NatWest 6 Nations Championship Round 1, Stade de France, Paris, France 3/2/2018 France vs Ireland Fans celebrate Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Novak Djokovic was still on his way home from Australia when another obstacle was put in his path in the form of a tightening of regulations in France towards the unvaccinated.

France's parliament has approved a law that will exclude unvaccinated people from all restaurants, sports arenas and other venues as the central measure of government efforts to protect hospitals amid record numbers of Covid-19 infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Ireland are set to visit Paris in Six Nations in February. The new law will mean all travelling fans will have to show proof of vaccination. Some exceptions could be made for those who have recently recovered from Covid-19.

Up until now, a Covid-19 pass has been required in France to go to restaurants, cinemas, museums and many sites throughout the country, but unvaccinated people have been allowed in if they show a recent negative test or proof of recent recovery.

The new law requires full vaccination for such venues, including tourist sites, many trains and all domestic flights, and applies to everyone aged 16 and over.

The law also imposes tougher fines for fake passes and allows ID checks to avoid fraud.

On Sunday French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu performed an about-turn by saying sportspeople will need to be vaccinated to compete in the country.

Maracineau last week defended the idea of bubbles for unvaccinated athletes but on Sunday reversed that position after the passing of stricter measures in the French parliament, putting Djokovic’s defence of his French Open title in danger.

The Serbian is also unlikely to play the big ATP tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami in March unless he changes his stance because of the USA's tight restrictions.

There appears no prospect of the British government following suit but it is not inconceivable that Wimbledon could be the only grand slam tournament where Djokovic competes in 2022.

His deportation also carries an automatic three-year ban from Australia, although it can be waived if there are deemed to be compelling reasons.

Much can still change ahead of the summer, of course, and Gilles Moretton, the president of the French Tennis Federation, told l'Equipe: "Our teams are working in collaboration with the public authorities, who will specify in due course the rules relating to the reception of unvaccinated foreign athletes for our tournament." 

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