Issued on: Changed:
Sydney (AFP) – Football Australia said on Monday that they have fined coach Graham Arnold $ 25,000 ($ 18,500) for breaking the rules of self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.
But the head coach can still join the Socceroos when they play Japan this Thursday if he gives a negative PCR test before the match, the governing body said.
Sydney radio station 2GB reported that Arnold had been seen walking his dog by the sea swimming pool in the Sydney suburb of North Narrabeen without a mask on Sunday, three days after testing positive for the virus.
Covid rules in the eastern state of New South Wales require people who test positive for Covid-19 to isolate themselves for seven days and leave isolation only to get medication or in an emergency.
Arnold admitted he had gone out with his dog to Narrabeen Beach, Football Australia said in a statement.
“I sincerely apologize for my judgment this Sunday,” Arnold was quoted as saying.
“I accept that I should not have left my home under New South Wales self-isolation protocols and will remain on my property until my self-isolation window closes. I also accept the sanctions that come because of this error.”
Football Australia’s CEO James Johnson said the body was “disappointed” to hear about the 58-year-old’s breach of isolation and would fine him $ 25,000, which would be donated to the Red Cross Flood Relief Fund after the recent floods that engulfed cities across the east coast of Australia.
“Graham has been diligent throughout Covid, but on this occasion he has made a misjudgment, which is clearly disappointing,” Johnson said.
“We have tried to act as quickly as possible in this matter today and have imposed a substantial fine, which underlines how important we value that our representatives comply with government protocols.”
Football Australia said Arnold had tested negative in his recent PCR tests and would have to test negative again after his period of self-isolation in order to rejoin the Socceroos camp for Thursday’s match against the four-time Asian champions Japan ahead of a showdown with Saudi Arabia. Arabia in Jeddah five days later.
Australia must win both matches to secure automatic qualification for the World Cup in Qatar later this year. Japan will book their place if they beat the Socceroos.
Australia is three points behind Japan, with Saudi Arabia in first place an additional point ahead of Asian Group B.
Regardless of the results, Australia is guaranteed to finish at least in third place and go to a playoff against the third-placed team in Asian Group A.
© 2022 AFP