The Djokovic case raises the question of the vaccination status of athletes

The joy of the world number one in tennis was short-lived. Tuesday, January 4, a smiling Novak Djokovic posed on the tarmac of an airport, ready to fly to Melbourne. The man with the 20 Grand Slam titles including nine on Australian soil – was pleased to have obtained a medical exemption to be able to play the Australian Open, from January 17 to 30. The Serb was disillusioned when he arrived at Melbourne airport the next day. After detaining the player for several hours, the Australian authorities finally canceled his visa, compromising his participation in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season.

“Mr. Djokovic did not provide the appropriate information to enter Australia”, explained Greg Hunt, the Australian Minister of Health, Wednesday evening. According to the local daily The Age, he would not have completed the correct form for the type of visa he requested. The decision of the Australian authorities comes in any case at the end of two days of imbroglio around the vaccination situation of Novak Djokovic. The Serbian player, openly hostile to vaccination, has never communicated on his vaccination status.

“The world has suffered enough like this not to follow the rules”

The vagueness surrounding the granting of a medical exemption to Novak Djokovic has not failed to revive the debate on the vaccination of athletes. “The only thing clear to me is that if you are vaccinated you can play the Australian Open and everywhere else. (…) I think that if Novak wanted it, he would play in Australia without problem ”, Rafael Nadal reacted on Thursday, on the sidelines of the Melbourne tournament in which he takes part, adding that “The world has suffered enough like this not to follow the rules.”

→ DEBATE. Covid-19: should vaccination be made compulsory?

If other renowned athletes, like Kylian Mbappé, have shown themselves to be fervent activists for vaccination, others have expressed their reluctance towards vaccines. This is the case with NBA superstar Kyrie Irving. Refusing to be vaccinated, the basketball player of the Brooklyn Nets has missed 35 games this season … before returning to the workforce at the request of his leaders.

A question of ethics

For their part, the Australian authorities do not seem willing to grant such a privilege to Novak Djokovic. Australian Prime Minister himself Scott Morisson demanded that the Serbian player provide the evidence justifying the exemption, otherwise “He will return home in the first plane”. “There will be no special rule for Novak Djokovic”, he insisted.

“The Australian government is sending a message to its people: the athlete, even if it is Djokovic, is a citizen who is subject to the same rules as the others”, observes William Gasparini, sociologist specializing in sports issues at the University of Strasbourg. “The particular health and political context of Melbourne also explains the attitude of the public authorities”, he adds. An exception would probably have been very badly perceived by the population in a city which, with more than 262 days of confinement, holds the world record in the matter.

→ ANALYSIS. Beijing Winter Olympics: athletes anticipate the Games under cover

For the sociologist, vaccination is also a question of ethics: “We consider that high-level athletes, because of what they represent, have a duty to set an example. “ Proof that this exemplarity counts in the eyes of the public, Buffalo Bills player Cole Beasley was booed by his own supporters after publicly expressing his refusal to be vaccinated.

Vaccination pass

Ethical question or not, health measures are being reinforced all over the planet, tightening the noose around recalcitrant athletes. In France, the bill transforming the health pass into a vaccination pass was adopted at first reading on Thursday, January 6. “The obligation to present a vaccination pass is based on the place frequented, recalls Me Gautier Kertudo, lawyer specializing in sports law. Therefore, it applies in the same way to athletes and supporters. “

→ ANALYSIS. Delayed in the Assembly, the law on the vaccine pass continues its path

However, exceptions could exist with regard to certain sporting events. According to The Parisian, a tournament like Roland-Garros could set up a “Strict sanitary bubble” rather than requiring a full immunization schedule from participating athletes. An exemption that would save Novak Djokovic a lot of trouble. For now, the Serbian champion has obtained a suspension of his expulsion from Australian territory. The player should be fixed on his fate on Monday January 10, date of the hearing.



Football: the good deal of Lille, qualified in the Champions League

Historic evening for LOSC. Fifteen years after its first qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Lille has once again validated its ticket for the final phase of the most prestigious of European competitions, even finishing first in its group. A memorable success, obtained on the lawn of the Germans in Wolfsburg thanks to goals from Burak Yilmaz, Jonathan David and Angel Gomes (3-1 final score). Remarkable from a sporting point of view, the qualification is also an excellent operation at the accounting level.

→ ANALYSIS. Football: when supporters slip and penalize their team

By moving on to the next round, LOSC will receive a bonus of 9.5 million euros, granted by UEFA, the organizer of the competition. And the benefits do not end there: each victory brought in 2.7 million euros for the Mastiffs and each draw, 900,000 €, for a total of 9.9 million euros (three wins and two draws ). We must also add to this the revenue from the ticket office during the three matches played at the Pierre Mauroy stadium, valued at 3.6 million euros according to the newspaper.the team. In total, the qualification will therefore bring between 20 and 23 million euros to the LOSC.

This tidy sum offers a precious breath of fresh air to the northern club, facing major financial difficulties. “We must not forget that LOSC was on the verge of bankruptcy a year ago”, recalls Mickael Terrien, professor of sports economics at the University of Lausanne. Last January, President Olivier Létang declared that the club’s debt stood at 159 million euros.

“Trading” and debt

According to the researcher, these difficulties find their source in the economic model imposed by Gérard Lopez, the previous majority shareholder of the club: “In 2017, Gérard Lopez bought the club by going into debt with investment funds, in particular Elliott. The idea was to buy young players with high potential to sell them more quickly: this is called “trading”. “

However, the LOSC did not receive all of the money from these sales. “The system was made in such a way that most of the allowances went to agents and other intermediaries”, specifies Mickael Terrien. The money from the transfers therefore did not make it possible to repay a debt which continued to grow … until the creditors asked to recover their stake and push Gérard Lopez towards the exit for the benefit of Olivier Létang, in December 2020.

Football: Stade Rennes takes pride of place

Since then, LOSC’s financial situation has improved but remains precarious. This summer, the club reduced its payroll by 12 million euros following the departure of seventeen players. The Lille qualification will allow the club to continue to clean up its accounts. “Qualification can bring significant indirect gains by increasing the market value of some players”, adds Mickael Terrien. Other departures are also expected this winter: Jonathan Ikoné is announced at Fiorentina while the name of Renato Sanches returns with insistence on the side of AC Milan.



Peng Shuai case: the WTA dares to suspend its competitions in China

A bolt from the blue. The announcement Wednesday 1er December of the WTA, the organizing body of the women’s tennis circuit, of the suspension of its competitions in China, in support of the player Peng Shuai who accused of sexual abuse a high dignitary of the Chinese Communist Party, is not gone unnoticed. The president of the WTA, the American Steve Simon, indeed defends his decision, “Whatever the financial consequences”.

→ READ. Tennis: the echo of the disappearance of Peng Shuai goes global

“If this act corresponds to a deep conviction, it is perfectly remarkable because the financial stake is considerable, underlines Jean-Pascal Gayant, professor of economics at the University of Maine. This will deprive the players of very important resources. “ China normally hosts nine tournaments on its soil. If they were all canceled in 2021 because of the health crisis, the country represented, before the pandemic, nearly 50% of the WTA’s income.

An unprecedented commitment for a sports organization

“That a sports organization does not give in to economic pressure is totally new”, observes Carole Gomez, director of research in the geopolitics of sport at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris). In the fall of 2019, the rag had burned between the very powerful NBA, which directs American professional basketball, and the Middle Empire. The latter had ended up imposing his law (read opposite).

The specificity of the WTA is probably not for nothing. “Like the ATP for men, the WTA was originally a union of female players., explains Jean-Pascal Gayant. It is a very strong cultural difference compared to other sports organizations. Even though his decision may not be the result of very broad consultation, the president knows he can count on massive support from those he represents. “ Many players have actually applauded on social networks, joined by champions like world number one Novak Djokovic.

The substance of the matter is also not neutral in this membership of the athletes. “With the explosion of the MeToo movement and the issue of sexual violence taking center stage, the world is ripe to mobilize on such a subject., Carole Gomez analysis. And social networks make it possible to do it faster and more widely. Now, the rest will depend on the ripple effect: will the WTA remain alone or take the lead of a coalition of actors, sportsmen and others, who will put pressure on China, which is hosting the Winter Games in two months? “

A boycott of the Beijing Games?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) hastened, this Thursday, December 2, to sound a different bell, ensuring that they had had a second exchange with Peng Shuai, after a first interview between the player and the IOC President Thomas Bach ten days ago.“We have opted for a very human and person-centered approach” , justified the instance, which did not publish any recordings or images of this interview.

A possible boycott of the Beijing Games, which are due to open on February 4, remains unresolved. “The sports boycott seems well and truly ruled out, the economic boycott does not have many supporters for the moment, on the other hand the diplomatic boycott is agitated by some governments which threaten not to send representatives on the spot, notes Carole Gomez. But for now, everyone seems to be looking at each other without making up their minds. “

→ DEBATE. Should we boycott the Beijing Olympics?

On the Chinese side, a spokesman for Beijing diplomacy lamented “Any politicization of sport”. The international Peng Shuai rape scandal “Is a real political disaster for the Communist Party”, explains Ya Xue Cao, columnist for the very knowledgeable site China Change. In fact, after China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, China’s image continues to deteriorate abroad. However, “China has never given up anything for reasons of sports diplomacy”, concludes Carole Gomez.

In the NBA, a tweet at $ 400 million

In the fall of 2019, a simple tweet ignites the powder. When the general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team shows his support for the protesters in Hong Kong, demanding more freedom, the Chinese authorities suspend the broadcasting of all matches. A real blow, the country being the biggest foreign market for American basketball. In February 2020, the NBA, the professional league of the United States, admitted that it had lost around $ 400 million in this affair. His matches did not return to the air on the Chinese public network until October 2020.



Case of the sextape: Karim Benzema sentenced to one year in prison

After more than six years, the “sextape affair” was finally judged: the Real Madrid player Karim Benzema was sentenced on Wednesday November 24 to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a € 75,000 fine, convicted of complicity in attempted blackmail on his former teammate, Mathieu Valbuena.

In his judgment, the president of the 7e chamber of the Versailles Criminal Court considered that Karim Benzema had “Personally involved, at the cost of subterfuge and lies, to convince his teammate to submit to blackmail”.

→ READ. Karim Benzema and the sextape affair, the incomprehensible implication

The player’s lawyers immediately announced their intention to appeal, specifying that their client, absent from the proceedings last month and from the deliberations on Wednesday, would be present at a second trial. “The reaction is ultimately a reaction of anger”, notably lambasted Me Sylvain Cormier, saying to himself “Flabbergasted” by one “Very severe sentence, unjust and without proof”.

Duty of exemplarity

The 33-year-old striker was also ordered to pay € 80,000 to the complainant and a symbolic euro to the French Football Federation, which had taken legal action in this case.

For his involvement in this intimate video blackmail, the prosecution had requested against the player ten months suspended sentence and a € 75,000 fine. The prosecutors had recalled in their indictment the duty of exemplarity of the star of the France team, “Bearer of an image, hope, notoriety and moral values”.

Besides Karim Benzema, four other men were convicted in this case. Considered the ” umbilical cord “ In this case, Mustapha Zouaoui was notably sentenced to two and a half years in prison and an arrest warrant was issued against him. His lawyer announced he was going to appeal.

Benzema should stay in Blue

“My client was waiting for recognition of his victim status, he had it, he is satisfied, he does not expect any particular apology from anyone”, also declared Mathieu Valbuena’s lawyer, Me Didier Domat.

“We have important civil interests, not negligible, but once again that will not be able to erase the damage that results from his non-selection for the France team”, he added. During the hearing, the current midfielder of Olympiakos (Greece), 37, recalled that this affair had cost him his place with the Blues, he who at the time had 52 selections for the national team.

→ READ. Euro 2021: Karim Benzema back, the risky bet of Didier Deschamps

Karim Benzema, he remained away from the French selection for more than five years before making a surprise return before Euro 2021. This conviction should not, however, keep him away from the Blues again. Two weeks ago, the boss of the French Football Federation, Noël Le Graët, explained that the 33-year-old striker “Would not be excluded” of the selection in case of “Judicial sanction”.



Football: Karim Benzema and the sextape affair, the incomprehensible implication

But what the devil was Karim Benzema doing in this mess? This is one of the questions that the Versailles court will try to answer, before which appear from this Wednesday, October 20 the five defendants of the blackmail case to the “sextape” of which Mathieu Valbuena was a victim, there is six years old. Because the mystery remains, long after the media explosion of the case in the fall of 2015 and its extensions until spring 2016 with the exclusion of Karim Benzema from the France team, and a change of sporting foot, before even this trial, with his return to selection in May 2021.

→ IN 2021. Euro 2021: Karim Benzema back, the risky bet of Didier Deschamps

How did the flagship striker of the Blues find himself embroiled in this story? At almost 28 years old, Karim Benzema was not a partridge of the year at the time. The nasty muddles, he knows. The Zahia case, in which he was suspected of having had recourse in 2008, like his teammate Franck Ribéry, to the services of the then minor escort-girl Zahia Behar, weighed on his shoulders until the release of the two players. by the Paris Criminal Court in January 2014. A month later, Karim Benzema became a father for the first time, and he said to himself “More posed”.

The star and her “brother”

His career is then in good shape. On March 26, 2015, in the absence of Hugo Lloris, he released his stripes as captain of the France team. At Real Madrid, he also delights. On September 15, 2015, he scored in the Champions League against Chakhtar Donetsk his 43e European goal, entering the ranking of the top ten scorers in this competition. At the time, Karim Benzema received € 700,000 in monthly salary. At least that is what he declared to the investigating judge during a hearing in November 2015.

On November 5, the star is indicted for ” conspiracy “ and “Complicity in attempted blackmail”. The first charge is quickly dropped. There remains the second, which earned him his dismissal in correctional. “A masquerade”, assures Karim Benzema today on social networks. Except that it is indeed, of this masquerade, embarked by his friend Karim Zenati.

This other Karim is the star’s childhood friend. They grew up together, in the Lyon suburbs. But Karim Zenati, two years older, quickly slipped. From 12 years old, the first offenses. Then various thefts, and barely major, in 2003, two armed robberies. Convenience stores. He is sentenced to 8 years in prison. He does half of it. He leaves, but in 2009, falls again for having participated in a drug delivery. Seven more years. But never, during all this time, Karim Benzema let go of his “brother”. And when the latter enjoys parole, in September 2013, Karim Benzema is still there to employ him as ” administrative assistant “ in one of its companies, at € 3,300 per month.

City codes

In complete confidence ? When Karim Zenati asks him to contact Mathieu Valbuena to discuss a sextape held by acquaintances, Karim Benzema, in any case, goes for it. He does not know that Karim Zenati and his acquaintances are wiretapped because Mathieu Valbuena, already approached by the individuals in possession of the sextape, warned the police. The striker evokes the affair with Mathieu Valbuena during a rally of the Blues in Clairefontaine, on October 6, offering to put him in contact with one of his friends who could settle the affair. Immediately after, he calls Karim Zenati. It is this dialogue, recorded by the police, that will be at the heart of the trial.

In front of the judge during the investigation, Karim Benzema recognizes “A rotten thing”, but who “Was only help”, explaining that he only wanted to allow Mathieu Valbuena to recover his sextape. On the side of Karim Zenati, same defense: “If I thought of blackmailing Valbuena, I wouldn’t have gone through Karim. It would be twisting the hand of the one who feeds me. “ During the investigation, the two men clear each other. They haven’t cut ties since.

One certainty: the trial falls today at a time when, sportingly, Karim Benzema is at the top. On a cloud in Madrid, savior of the fatherland with the Blues in the League of Nations, he is in the race this year for the Golden Ball. The sextape affair reflects the image of a personality that can be influenced and still obeys certain neighborhood codes. This is not the best advertisement.


Valbuena present, Benzema undoubtedly represented

The main victim of the case is obviously Mathieu Valbuena. Beyond the alleged blackmail, from his revelation, the midfielder, who was among the major players of the selection, has never donned the blue jersey. His lawyers guaranteed his presence at the trial. However, uncertainty remains for Karim Benzema, who with Real Madrid faced Chakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday October 19 in the Champions League, before a major meeting in La Liga this weekend for the “Clasico” Sunday October 24 in Barcelona. . He could be represented by his lawyers.



TB Cases: 25% less cases of TB reported in 2020, situation improved or testing was less, know here

TB Cases: There has been a decrease of 25 percent in TB cases in 2020 as compared to the year 2019. The Union Health Ministry gave this information in the Lok Sabha during the monsoon session. However, experts believe that the main reason for this decrease in TB cases is the lockdown and other restrictions imposed due to corona. According to experts, due to these restrictions, very few people came to the hospital and the testing of TB has also been very less.

According to the data given by the Union Health Ministry in the Lok Sabha, in the year 2020 from January to December, 18 lakh new cases of TB have been reported in the country. Whereas in the year 2019, 24 lakh cases were reported. Let us tell you that the first case of corona in India was reported in the year 2020 at the end of January. The first wave of corona had started across the country from March. After which a lockdown was imposed in the entire country on 24 March.

People did not go to the hospital for fear of corona infection

According to Dr KK Chopra, director of the New Delhi TB Center, “During the lockdown, people could not go to the hospital for TB testing. At the same time, there was also a fear of corona infection, due to which no one wants to go to the hospital. Not only this, our staff also faced many problems in coming to the hospital, due to which there was a decrease in the daily testing of TB.

At the same time, he said, “During this, we also took the help of private health centers to collect samples of patients. During the second wave of corona, our preparedness for TB testing was better than before, now if the cases of Kovid increase again. If so, we are well prepared for that.”

Fewer cases of TB could be reported even due to the closure of OPD

The OPD facility in the hospital was also closed for a long time after the lockdown. Due to this, fewer cases of TB could be reported during this period. According to GC Khilnani, former head of the Department of Pulmonology, AIIMS, “OPD facility in all hospitals was closed during the lockdown. Due to this, less cases of TB were reported. Not only TB, but also fewer cases of other diseases during this period.” were able to come face to face.”

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TV rights deal: is football off the hook?

► How did Canal + win the bid?

It was a very small door at the end of the dead end. But all the players concerned ended up finding it and rushing into it urgently: the agreement signed on February 4 by the Professional Football League (LFP) and Canal + ensures at least the next few months by unwinding the ball of TV rights tangled since their retrocession by Mediapro in December 2020. The new call for tenders launched by the LFP having been declared “unsuccessful” at the beginning of the week and Canal + having refused to negotiate by mutual agreement, all the emergency exits seemed closed.

→ THE FACTS. TV rights: Canal + saves French football

But the boss of Canal +, Maxime Saada, finally picked up his phone to actually negotiate with Vincent Labrune, the president of the LFP. Not on all rights for the period 2020-2024, but to save the essentials this season. For around 200 million euros, Canal + recovers all of the 80% of rights abandoned by Mediapro, from next week until the end of May.

→ DEBATE. Can French football go bankrupt?

This sum includes the payment in advance of its rights sublicensed by BeIn Sport to Canal + to broadcast two posters per weekend, or 165 million euros, plus an extension of 35 million euros. For this very modest price, Canal + is once again becoming the football channel broadcasting all of Ligue 1. A first since 2008.

► What consequences for the clubs?

With the jackpot promised by Mediapro, French football was to collect 1.2 billion euros per year. For this season after the agreement with Canal +, here are the domestic rights reduced in total by 40%, to just under 700 million euros. Almost the sums collected in TV rights over the period 2008-2012. Suffice to say that the shortfall is cringe. “This agreement was the only one possible. But it confirms the reality of a scenario of major financial crisis for French professional football ”, lamented Loïc Ferry, the president of Lorient, in the columns of The Team.

For some clubs, whose budgets depend on 50 to 75% of television revenues (Angers, Dijon, Reims, Nîmes), the coming months are shaping up to be very tight. Especially since crossing the sanitary desert obviously complicates the situation. The clubs are still forced for weeks behind closed doors, and the lackluster winter transfer window does little to encourage optimism for future summer transfers. The issue of lower wages is bound to come up again. If negotiations are underway, few clubs, like RC Lens at the end of January, have reached agreements.

► And for the rest?

The agreement reached is only valid for this season. Does it augur the definitive return of Canal + as a historic football channel? Amateurs will temporarily be pleased to find a clearer television offer, no longer forcing more subscriptions.

→ READ. Football: which channel for which match? The TV rights puzzle

For the rest, the ball is again in the camp of the LFP. It can take the time to negotiate over-the-counter, in particular with the new entrants who participated in its call for tenders: Amazon, the DAZN streaming platform and Discovery, the parent company of Eurosport. But Canal + would then have to continue paying its sublicensed rights to BeIN, a solution that Canal + already refuses, with an appeal on which the Paris Commercial Court must rule on February 19.

The other solution would be to relaunch, as Canal + wishes, a global call for tenders for the period 2021-2025. Will Canal + also take this decision?



Rugby: Bernard Laporte placed in custody in the Altrad case

Ten days away from running for the head of the French rugby federation (FFR) Bernard Laporte was taken into custody Tuesday, September 22 in Paris, in the investigation into his links with the president of the Montpellier club, Mohed Altrad. His lawyer denounces a “Interference” in the campaign for the presidency of the FFR while Bernard Laporte castigates a “Destabilization” and one “Calendar unworthy of a democracy” in a letter to French clubs, distributed during his custody.

Preliminary investigation opened in 2017

Heard by the Economic Crime Repression Brigade (BRDE), Bernard Laporte is the subject of a preliminary investigation opened in 2017 by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, then recipient of a report from the inspectors general of the sports ministry. He would have exerted pressure on the federation’s appeal committee to reduce in June 2017 the sanctions pronounced against Montpellier Hérault Rugby (MHR), the club owned by the Altrad group, also sponsor of the France team.

August 13, 2017 Sunday Newspaper had also revealed the existence of a contract for 150,000 € of image services between BL Communication, a company managed by Laporte, and Altrad Investment Authority, a contract which the boss of French rugby had finally given up.

→ TO RE (READ). Rugby, what do we blame Bernard Laporte for?

“Interference with the judicial process”

Lawyer for Bernard Laporte, Me Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi deplored that the hearing takes place ten days before the elections for the presidency of the rugby federation, where the former Secretary of State for Sports (2007-2009) is seeking a second term, facing its main opponent Florian Grill.

“Searches were carried out (at the headquarters of the FFR) in February 2018, one could imagine that he would be heard in September 2018, this would have left investigators seven months to analyze the documents. However, he was summoned two years later, in the middle of the campaign, while the prosecutor knew the electoral calendar of the federation since August 2019 ”, said the advice of Bernard Laporte.

“It is the blatant interference of a judicial process in an electoral process”, he added, claiming that “The prosecutor refused, without reason, to change the date”. A previous hearing, set earlier in the year, had been postponed “Because of the health restrictions of the Covid-19, otherwise he would have gone there”, added Me Versini-Campinchi. As part of the investigation, the three members of the federal appeal commission have already been heard in 2019.

The boss of the group, Mohed Altrad, owner of the Montpellier club and sponsor of the Blues, was also taken into custody by the financial police, just like the boss of the 2023 World Cup Claude Atcher, and two senior officials of the Federation, Serge Simon and Nicolas Hourquet.