Wanderers player charged with assault
WESTERN Sydney Wanderers midfielder Kearyn Baccus could be suspended by Football Federation Australia after being charged with assault during a dispute over parking near Sydney Airport.
Baccus has been bailed and told to appear in court on February 28 to answer charges that he allegedly punched a 49-year-old man on January 5, while on his way to a game.
Western Sydney are due to play Kashima Antlers in Korea that day in the Asian Champions League, and the court appearance would rule the 25-year-old out of travelling.
For now the Wanderers do not intend to stand Baccus down, and he trained as normal on Thursday morning.
"The Western Sydney Wanderers advise that they are aware of a police matter involving Kearyn Baccus," the club said in a statement.
"The club has spoken to the player with regards to the incident and as the matter has been referred to the court system the club will not be making any further comment.
"The player will be available for selection for this weekend's match."
But now that he has been charged by police, Baccus could also face a case from Football Federation Australia of bringing the game into disrepute.
Under the national code of conduct, "commission or charge with criminal conduct" opens the way to a range of penalties including fines and immediate suspension.
FFA said that it had asked for more details from the club and police and will then decide how to act.
"We need to receive further information before we can decide the appropriate way to proceed," an FFA spokesman said.
Another option for FFA would be to wait for the legal case to run its course, and the response from Western Sydney, before deciding what penalty to apply, if any.
Wanderers players were told to assemble at Sydney Airport on January 5 to fly to face Melbourne City the following day.
It's believed the players have a practice of parking in backstreets near the airport before catching Ubers in groups, in order to avoid paying parking fees at the airport. Contrary to other reports, the club is not aware of investigations involving any other players.
Baccus played the full 90 minutes against City and has started both games since.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that "officers attached to St George Local Area Command have charged a man with assault following an incident earlier this month".
"It was at 1pm on Thursday, January 5, an argument occurred involving a 25-year-old man and a 49-year-old man at Duncan Street Arncliffe," she said.
"The younger man then allegedly punched the older man in the chest.
"The 25-year-old attended Kogarah police station at 2pm yesterday and was charged with common assault."
"He will appear at Sutherland Local Court on February 28."
In March 2015 then Wanderers striker Kerem Bulut was withdrawn from a game after being arrested over an incident at a McDonalds outlet.
Charges were later dropped after Bulut protested his innocence.