Wellington Phoenix's Payne charged with drink driving after allegedly escaping coronavirus lockdown in golf cart

Goal.com

Wellington Pheonix may find themselves with more than just a red face after two of their players broke their coronavirus lockdown protocols to allegedly drive a golf cart along a busy Sydney road whilst topless and drunk.

New Zealand international Tim Payne was arrested by New South Wales police at 1 am local time on Tuesday, with authorities claiming that the player was joy-riding the cart on Wakehurst Parkway on Sydney's northern beaches.

It is alleged that Payne's breathalyser results showed a mid-range PCA (Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol) and he was taken back to Mona Vale Police Station, while onlookers told The Daily Telegraph that both players were shirtless during the escapade.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

The midfielder, who was on the books of Blackburn Rovers for two seasons without playing a single match due to work permit issues, is due in court in June. He could, however, avoid attending court in Sydney by lodging his plea from New Zealand.

If he is convicted as a first offender, he could face a maximum of 9 months imprisonment and a fine of 30 penalty units as per Australian law.

Phoenix team-mate Oliver Sail was also in the golf cart but was not arrested or charged, with police clearing the goalkeeper of any wrongdoing.

Wellington had been self-isolating at the Sydney Academy of Sport in Narrabeen before A-League had been called off. The pair are believed to have taken the golf cart – which was not damaged – from said academy.

In addition to facing legal action, the pair are expected to face further heavy fines from their club or a suspension of A-League play. The Australian Football Federation (FFA) are also investigating the matter.

An FFA statement reads: “Football Federation Australia (FFA) has this evening been made aware of a report regarding two Wellington Phoenix FC players. 

“FFA is investigating the matter, which is being taken very seriously. If any misconduct is found to have occurred, FFA will be swift in taking action under the FFA National Code of Conduct.

“FFA is not in a position to comment further at this time.”

A similar statement was also released by the club, which said: “We don't have any comment to make at this time.”

What to read next