Footballer tearfully apologises for breaking quarantine in drunk joyride

Payne (No 6) and teammates were drinking at their remote accommodation before the incident. (Facebook pic/Wellington Phoenix FC)

WELLINGTON: Wellington Phoenix midfielder Tim Payne tearfully apologised Thursday for breaking Covid-19 quarantine in Australia when he drunkenly drove a golf buggy along a Sydney street.

Payne and his passenger in the buggy, teammate Oliver Sail, face the prospect of a heavy fine or suspension over the escapade in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“I’m incredibly sorry and incredibly embarrassed,” Payne told New Zealand’s Radio Sport.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and what unfolded on that night … I 100% fully expect there to be repercussions.”

The New Zealand-based Phoenix were in isolation in Sydney in the hope that they could play in the A-League if the Australian competition continued behind closed doors.

But the plan proved fruitless when the season was cancelled and the team returned home on Tuesday.

New Zealand international Payne, 26, said his teammates were drinking at their remote accommodation in northern Sydney on Monday night when he and Sail decided to take a golf buggy for a ride.

He said the pair were stopped by police, although he denied reports they were arrested and members of the public intervened to stop them.

The reports said the buggy was stopped about 5km from the players’ accommodation and Payne blew positive on a roadside breath test.

“Definitely a mistake on my behalf, it’s just one of those things you wish you could take back,” he said.

Football Federation Australia said they were investigating and taking the matter very seriously.

“If any misconduct is found to have occurred, FFA will be swift in taking action under the FFA national code of conduct,” they said.

Wellington Phoenix confirmed an incident involving Payne and Sail had taken place, saying they too were investigating.