Phoenix pair cop four-game ban for breach

Wellington players Tim Payne and Oli Sail have copped four-game suspensions for their late-night drunken golf buggy drive during the team's Sydney isolation.

Wellington Phoenix players Tim Payne and Oli Sail will both serve four-game bans for their part in a drunken incident while the team were in isolation in Sydney in March.

Football Federation Australia confirmed the sanction on Wednesday and revealed they had declined an appeal lodged by both players earlier this month, challenging the severity of the punishment.

An FFA independent disciplinary and ethics committee deemed Payne and Sail had breached the national code of conduct on May 24 when the pair went on a late-night joy ride in a golf buggy on a public road near their quarantine base at North Narrabeen.

Payne issued a tearful public apology days after the incident and last week pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Manly Local Court. He will be sentenced later this month.

Sail was a passenger in the buggy.

The ban means the pair will miss the first four games of the revamped season beginning in mid-July.

Payne has been the club's regular right back this season while Sail, the reserve goalkeeper, is yet to play a game.

Wellington conducted their own investigation and said the pair had been fined but didn't disclose the figure.

General manager David Dome said the club recognised the severity of the breach, especially given the team's responsibility to isolate early in the COVID-19 lockdown, but also the regret both players had displayed.

"Both Payne and Sail understand the gravity of their actions; they know this has impacted the rest of the team and the reputation of the club," Dome said in a statement.

"To their credit they've worked hard since the incident to repair some of the damage they've caused."

The sanction only adds to the gloomy mood at Wellington, who are still awaiting clearance to re-enter Australia ahead of the revamped competition.

Dome expressed irritation earlier this week at the delay in getting an exemption from NSW government authorities to begin undergoing 14 days of team isolation in Sydney.

It was hoped they would receive the green light on Wednesday but there was no update.

Dome didn't want to comment on the delay which means the third-placed Phoenix will begin training fully as a team significantly later than other clubs.


AAP