A-League: Wellington Phoenix's Tim Payne apologises for coronavirus quarantine joyride

Kiwi Tim Payne has issued a tearful apology for a joy-riding incident during the team's A-League quarantine period in Sydney, which has resulted in a drink-driving charge.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Wellington Phoenix management are investigating the alcohol-related incident, in which Payne drove a golf buggy beyond the team's remote Sydney facility, where they were undergoing 14 days of self-isolation.

Teammate Oliver Sail was a passenger.

All Whites international defender Payne admitted they broke the team's strict conditions, when they left the facility - believed to be the Sydney Academy of Sport near Narrabeen - in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

He was stopped by police and following a positive breath-test result, was charged with a mid-range offence and ordered to appear in a Sydney court in June.

Payne refuted a media report that said he'd been arrested and members of the public had been involved in any way.

An emotional Payne told NZME's Radio Sport he had apologised to the club and teammates for his actions, and was remorseful.

"I just want to say that I'm incredibly sorry and incredibly embarrassed, for what I've done," Payne said.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and for what unfolded on that night. I've let so many people down, including my partner, my family, the club as a whole and individuals, such as Uffie [coach Ufuk Talay], who has given me the chance this season."

He had spoken to club management and expected to face internal sanctions.

"I did something I'm not proud of and I 100 percent expect there to be repercussions for those actions.

"It's one of those things you wish you could take back, but I'm fully ready to stand up and face them head on."

FFA said the matter was being taken very seriously and if any misconduct was found to have occurred, it would take action under the national code of conduct.

The team returned home on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the A-League's suspension had been announced.

Phoenix general manager David Dome has told AAP that players and staff had made the call to return home on Monday afternoon, after the New Zealand Government announced the country would undergo a border lockdown this week.


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