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'Respect the law': Football star facing jail over virus breach

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Luka Jovic, pictured here with his girlfriend and in action for Real Madrid.
Luka Jovic allegedly breached protocols to attend his girlfriend's birthday party. Image: Instagram/Getty

Real Madrid star Luka Jovic is facing a potential jail term for allegedly violating self-isolation during the coronavirus state of emergency in March.

Serbian prosecutors have filed charges against the football star, asking for a six-month prison sentence.

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Prosecutors are asking for the jail term because Jovic failed to comply with health protocols when he entered Serbia from Spain, state news agency Tanjug reported.

It was reported at the time that the 22-year-old had flown into Serbia to attend his girlfriend’s birthday party.

He was seen on the streets of Belgrade and pictured at the birthday bash.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Luka Jovic (@lukajovic) on

“First of all, I am very sorry that I am the main topic (of debate) these days, and I am sorry that people are constantly writing about me and not about the main protagonists in the fight against this crisis, who are the doctors and all those who work in healthcare,” Jovic wrote on social media at the time.

“In Madrid, my Covid-19 test was negative. So I decided to travel to Serbia, to help and support our people, in addition to being close to my family, with the permission of my club.

“When I arrived in Serbia, they gave me the test and it came out negative. I am very sorry that some people have not done their job professionally and have not given me specific instructions on how I should behave during my isolation.

“In Spain it is allowed to go to buy food or buy products in pharmacies, which does not happen here (in Serbia). I apologise to everyone if in any way I have hurt or put someone in danger. I hope that together we can overcome all this.”

Luka Jovic, pictured here in action for Real Madrid in La Liga.
Luka Jovic in action for Real Madrid in La Liga. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Under Serbian law, the court now needs to confirm the indictment submitted by the prosecution.

Jovic had the opportunity to pay a 3.5-million dinars ($A49,213) fine which would have scuppered further charges, state broadcaster RTS reported.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic blasted Jovic at the time.

“We have the negative example of our football stars who earn millions and have ignored the obligation to self-isolate so they can return home,” she said.

“The fact that they are known sportsmen, and that they are rich, will not stop them from being punished,” Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic added.

“Either they will respect the law, or they'll go to jail.”

Virus wreaks havoc on world sport

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football postponed one of its Champions League semi-finals because players and officials of Moroccan club Raja Casablanca have been put in quarantine.

A coronavirus outbreak in the squad resulted in eight positive tests before Saturday’s second leg clash with Zamalek in Egypt.

England's rugby match at Twickenham on Sunday could be cancelled after some Barbarians players were reported to have breached coronavirus protocols by leaving their team hotel without permission.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) says an unknown number of players left the hotel without gaining permission and did not inform organisers of their whereabouts on Wednesday evening.

After their return, they were separated from the rest of the group in the biosecure bubble.

And the NFL has shifted the Las Vegas game against Tampa Bay out of prime time Sunday after several Raiders players were unable to practice this week because of contact tracing for coronavirus.

The league says the changes were made out of an “abundance of caution” to make sure a game would be available for Sunday night.

with agencies

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