AL JAZEERA: ‘Rules are rules’: Australia cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa
Authorities say tennis champ ‘failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements’ for Australia.
Australian authorities have cancelled Novak Djokovic‘s visa, the country’s border agency announced, saying the world’s number-one tennis player “failed to provide appropriate evidence” to enter Australia.
Djokovic landed in Melbourne late on Wednesday and said he had obtained a medical exemption to play in the upcoming Australian Open tournament, despite not being vaccinated against the coronavirus.
But in a statement on Thursday, the Australian Border Force (ABF) said “Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled”.
The Reuters news agency reported that Djokovic has filed an injunction to remain in the country.
In a tweet, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Djokovic’s visa had been cancelled.
“Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant,” he said.
Australia has imposed strict measures to combat COVID-19, including requiring full vaccination for people coming into the country. The government allows vaccination exemptions for “medical reasons“.
Many Australians had voiced anger that the unvaccinated player had gotten a visa to play in the major tournament, prompting Morrison to vow to deport Djokovic if he did not provide sufficient evidence to support the exemption.
“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic voiced support for Djokovic on Wednesday.
“I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately,” Vucic said in a statement.
More to follow.