Wellington Phoenix midfielder Tim Payne has expressed his embarrassment and remorse after breaking coronavirus self-isolation rules to take an early morning joy ride in Sydney.
Payne and teammate Oliver Sail could face sanctions from the club after they took a golf cart for a joyride along a busy road on Tuesday morning.
The club confirmed Payne and Sail were involved in the incident, in which they used and damaged facility property, but denied Australian media reports that an arrest was made.
Speaking to Radio Sport's Jason Pine, Payne said he was "incredibly embarrassed" but took full responsibility for the situation.
"It was definitely a mistake on my behalf. It's just one of those things you wish you could take back," Payne said.
"I 100 per cent expect there to be repercussions for my actions."
Payne said he, Sail and some of their teammates had been drinking at the team's facility in Sydney on Monday night, but only the pair of them were involved in the incident.
"It was never our intention to [leave quarantine]. I don't know exactly how far [from the quarantine area] it was," Payne said.
"There will be some legal sanctions in Australia, yes. I'll take full responsibility for that, whatever the club and FFA decide, I'll take full responsibility.
"I've made my bed and I've got to take responsibility for my actions."
The initial report, from the Daily Telegraph, said Payne was spotted driving the cart while shirtless at 1am on Tuesday before he was stopped by police. The Telegraph reported Payne had later been arrested, however Payne and the Wellington Phoenix have said that was not the case.
The club released a statement addressing the incident on Thursday morning.
"Despite reports to the contrary, initial investigations have found that Tim Payne was not arrested during the incident and no member of the public was involved," the club said.
"The Wellington Phoenix is taking the matter very seriously and is continuing its investigations. The club will release a further statement once its investigation is complete."
The golf cart was found five kilometres from where the team were staying, according to reports.
The club left Sydney for New Zealand later that day after the A-League was postponed on Monday.
The Phoenix squad and staff had been a 14-day period of self-isolation in Sydney after arriving last Wednesday to play out the rest of the A-League season in Australia.
They were set to recommence their league campaign on Saturday, April 4 but the season was postponed for the foreseeable future.
Phoenix general manager David Dome said that prior to the FFA's decision, the club had tried everything in its power to play out as much of the A-League season as it could, but the spread of Covid-19 had made it untenable to remain in Australia.
"We didn't want to subject the players and staff to the risk of being stranded in Australia for an indefinite period of time," he said.
"The players, staff and management were 100 per cent committed to doing the best it could this season and playing out as much of the A-League season as was possible - their positive attitude and dedication is a tribute to them, as was as the support of the families, fans and the club's corporate partners.
"This was an incredible season for the Wellington Phoenix and even though it has been postponed, it was still our highest finish to date; while we're disappointed at the postponement, the right thing to do now is to get everyone home to their loved ones during this unprecedented time of crisis."
The FFA has scheduled a formal status announcement for April 22 to assess when the A-League season could be completed.
In the meantime, the Phoenix will remain ready to continue the season if and when required, with each player being given a personal training plan to maintain their fitness during this time.