Graham Arnold alleged to have broken COVID-19 isolation order

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has issued a public apology, but is facing up to $30,000 in fines for breaching a self-isolation order having left his house three days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Arnold claims to have made “an error of judgement” after being spotted walking his dog at North Narrabeen Ocean Pools with his wife on Sunday, when he was meant to be undergoing seven days’ isolation.

Graham Arnold is alleged to have breached home quarantine. Credit:AP

In what has been a major distraction for the Socceroos three days out from their biggest match in this World Cup qualifying campaign, their coach was slapped with a $25,000 fine from Football Australia and could yet be fined another $5000 by NSW Police for the isolation breach.

Arnold was consigned to home quarantine for seven days after testing positive to COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon. He left his house on Sunday after receiving a negative PCR test, despite NSW health regulations requiring him to remain in isolation until Wednesday night.

“I sincerely apologise for my error of judgement on Sunday,” Arnold said. “I accept that I should not have left my home as per the New South Wales self-isolation protocols and will remain at my property until my self-isolation window concludes. I also accept the sanctions that come because of this error.”

Football Australia is understood to have been left red-faced after the debacle, prompting the heavy fine which will be donated to the Red Cross Flood Relief Fund. No team in Australia has had to contend with more obstacles and adhere to stricter health conditions after the COVID-19 outbreak, which prevented the Socceroos playing on home soil until November 2021.


“Graham has been diligent throughout COVID however on this occasion he has made an error of judgement, which is clearly disappointing,” Football Australia chief James Johnson said. “We have sought to act as swiftly as possible on this matter today and have imposed a significant fine, which underscores how importantly we value our representatives abiding by government protocols.“

The allegations surfaced on 2GB radio on Monday morning just as the first Socceroos were arriving into camp ahead of Australia’s crucial world cup qualifier against Japan at Accor Stadium on Thursday. The Socceroos must win that match as well as beat Saudi Arabia in Jeddah five days later to qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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