News

Djokovic investigated over alleged false claim on entry form to Australia

The Australian Border Force (ABF) is investigating whether Novak Djokovic falsely declared he had not left Spain in the two weeks prior to his flight to Australia.

This comes after social media posts emerged showing the tennis star in Belgrade on Christmas Day.

People flying to Australia from overseas must fill out a health survey where they are asked if they have travelled in the 14 days before arriving in Australia.

In documents released as part of Djokovic’s court case, the Serbian tennis star declared that he had not travelled in the fortnight prior to his departure.

For Djokovic to have been within the border entry rules, he would would had to have been in Spain for two weeks from December 22 for his flight that left Spain on the 4th January and arrived in Australia on the 5th.

However social media posts and news articles from late December have revealed that this may not be the case.

A Twitter post by the Portuguese tennis reporter, Jose Morgado, appears to show Djokovic was in Belgrade on Christmas Day, posing with the handball star Petar Djordjic.

US tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg also took to social media to compile the evidence surrounding this controversy.

Djokovic was also pictured playing tennis in the streets of Belgrade in a video post uploaded to Instagram on Boxing day, however, it has now been taken down.

The ABF was asked if it was investigating whether Djokovic’s travel declaration information was accurate by the ABC, however, a spokesperson said the ABF did not comment on operational matters.

“All passengers travelling to Australia are required to provide important health and travel information, including contact, flight and vaccination details,” they said.

“This important information identifies their eligibility to travel, helps state and territory governments determine quarantine arrangements (if required), and supports relevant state and territory health departments to conduct contract tracing.

“Providing false or misleading information or documentation to the Commonwealth can lead to visa cancellation and/or attract penalties, including under criminal law.”

Spanish foreign minister, Jose Manuel Albares told reporters on Wednesday that he does not have any information on whether Djokovic had visited Spain before arriving in Australia.

When questioned if he knew whether Djokovic had entered Spain in December, potentially invalidating the tennis players travel declaration, Albares responded: “I have no record of this presence of Djokovic.”

“We have not been contacted by the Australian government to request such documentation,” he added.

Djokovic’s fate remains in the hands of immigration minister Alex Hawke as he continues to consider whether to re-cancel the world number one male tennis player’s visa.

According to Sky News, a spokesperson for Minister Hawke on Monday said it was within his “discretion to consider cancelling Mr Djokovic’s visa under his personal power of cancellation within section 133C(3) of the Migration Act.”

“The Minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing.”

Section 133C(3) states the Minister has the power to cancel a person’s visa if (a) he is “satisfied” a ground for cancelling the visa exists under section 116 and (b) the Minister “is satisfied that it would be in the public interest to cancel the visa.”

The decision to re-cancel Djokovic’s visa would likely be met by a new legal challenge from Djokovic, and a request for an injunction to stay out of immigration detention so that he could play in the Australian Open, where he is chasing a male record 21st grand slam singles title.


Featured Image: Twitter/josemorgado



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