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‘Hefty’ Arnold fine questioned


Arnold – who tested positive to Covid-19 last Thursday before he was due to enter Socceroos camp the following day – broke a seven-day self-isolation rule on Sunday when he went for a brief swim at Narrabeen Beach to help fight his allergies.With Arnold’s actions being revealed by 2GB radio host Ray Hadley on Monday morning, FA chief executive James Johnson showed the Socceroos coach no mercy in fining him $25,000 and expressing his “disappointment” in the national mentor.That’s despite Arnold having tested negative twice in PCR tests following his Thursday positive test and his Sunday swim, and the Socceroos coach having been told by two doctors he could leave his house following his negative PCR test results.The question has also been raised as to why Arnold was forced to have a PCR test last Thursday after he had tested positive to Covid-19 in January.It may have led to viral shedding, in which Arnold, despite fully recovering from Covid-19, could still have had non-infectious fragments of the virus in his body.The fragments could have returned a positive test result for Arnold, but the result might have been weak, leading him to undergoing further testing – as he did – to confirm he was no longer infectious.“All this Covid stuff has gotten out control,” Adelaide United coach and former Socceroos striker Carl Veart said.“I think it (the $25,000 fine) is very hefty. I don’t know if it’s a lack of support (from FA), but some of these things are more about PR than sending a good message, because no one wants any bad publicity.”Former Socceroos coach Frank Farina said the fine was “very steep”.“It’s a massive fine,” Farina said.“Is it because he’s high-profile? I’d like to know how they got to that figure.”Ex-Socceroos striker Bruce Djite feared an irreparable rift would develop between Arnold and FA.“It’s a very severe punishment,” Djite said.Socceroos great Robbie Slater said the situation was poorly handled by FA.“He (Arnold) should not have been tested (last week) because he had Covid eight weeks ago. He could come up with a false positive result,” Slater said.“No one’s saying he hasn’t done the ‘wrong thing’ by the rule of law, which Ray Hadley has pointed out, but in this current climate it shows how confused everyone is because ‘Arnie’ spoke to two doctors who told him that he was fine because he tested negatively continuously.“How about a little bit of humanity to back him up? “This is a guy who was in lockdown for six months overseas last year on his own, away from his family, went to the Olympics, where he stayed in a room on his own with a guard at the door … he’s gone through a fair bit for the country and the Socceroos.“The fine is disproportionate to what he’s done.”However, a FA spokesman on Tuesday night said the fine was “commensurate with the severity that FA treated the breach”.

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