, Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne pleads guilty to drink-driving after golf cart ride, Bad Sporters

, Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne pleads guilty to drink-driving after golf cart ride, Bad Sporters

Tony Feder/Getty-Images

Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne has pleaded guilty to drink-driving after a golf cart incident in Sydney in March.

Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne has pleaded guilty to drink-driving after a shirtless late-night joy ride in a golf cart in Sydney.

The All White football international issued his guilty plea to a mid-range drink-driving charge via email in the Manly Local Court on Wednesday, NSW Courts confirmed to Stuff, and will be sentenced on June 29.

Payne was charged after breaking the Phoenix’s 14-day Covid-19 quarantine by leaving the team’s base at the Sydney Academy of Sport at North Narrabeen to drive the golf cart on a public road in the early hours of March 24.

NZ Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell is encouraged by the strength of trans-Tasman football relations.

NSW Police said at the time Payne had undergone a roadside breath test and was taken to Mona Vale police station where he allegedly returned a 0.100 breath-alcohol reading.

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The Transport for NSW website says a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to less than 0.15 carries a minimum disqualification of six months and maximum court-imposed fine of AU$2200 (NZ$2353) for a first offence.

A Manly Daily report stated police were alerted after motorists saw the golf cart on the road.

Payne returned to New Zealand with the Phoenix after the incident when the A-League was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

, Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne pleads guilty to drink-driving after golf cart ride, Bad Sporters

Hagen Hopkins/Getty-Images

Wellington Phoenix reserve goalkeeper Oliver Sail was a passenger in the golf cart, driven by teammate Tim Payne, who has admitted a drink-driving charge.

He was issued with a court notice to appear for plea or mention in Manly Local Court on June 10.

Payne sent an email, via his New Zealand solicitor, to the court, admitting his guilt.

A sentence can be imposed in Payne’s absence on June 29 if needed. The Phoenix squad is currently split between Wellington, Australia, England, and Mexico, but they are set to reassemble in Sydney later this month, as the A-League eyes a return to action in July.

, Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne pleads guilty to drink-driving after golf cart ride, Bad Sporters

Hagen Hopkins/Getty-Images

Tim Payne (L) has established himself at the Wellington Phoenix with some strong defensive displays.

A tearful Payne told Radio Sport on March 26 he was sorry for his actions, and apologised for embarrassing his club.

“I just want to say I am incredibly sorry and incredibly embarrassed for what I’ve done,” he 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 a chance this season.

“I’m incredibly embarrassed and so sorry that I’ve let so many people down.”

He added that he would take “full responsibility” for any legal sanctions in Australia and for any penalties imposed by the Phoenix and Football Federation Australia, who oversee the A-League.

The Phoenix said on March 26 that they were taking the matter seriously as they launched an investigation, but have provided no further update in the 12 weeks since. An FFA investigation is also underway.

Payne was on the books of English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers as a teenager, but has mostly played in New Zealand’s amateur national league for Auckland City and Eastern Suburbs, who he won the title with in 2019.

He signed a one-year professional deal with the Phoenix last July and extended his contract through to 2022 in January, after becoming a regular starter at right back in the absence of injured veteran Louis Fenton.

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