Australia reserve goalkeeper Brad Jones has been granted leave from the Socceroos' FIFA World Cup™ camp because of a family illness.
The Australian federation (FFA) released a statement today confirming Jones has returned to Perth yesterday to be with his family. It is not known whether the Middlesbrough goalkeeper will return to the squad but the FFA have revealed they are in discussions over the possibility of calling up a replacement if needs be.
"Socceroos goalkeeper Brad Jones has been granted leave from the 2010 FIFA World Cup camp after receiving news of a serious illness in his family," read the statement. "Jones left South Africa yesterday to be with his immediate family and it is unclear at this stage whether he will return and participate in the tournament.
"Football Federation Australia (FFA) has applied to FIFA for the ability to replace Jones in the Socceroos squad if necessary due to 'special circumstances' and is awaiting written approval. "FFA requests that Jones' and his family's privacy are respected during this difficult time."
Adelaide United goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic has remained with the team despite missing out on the final 23-man squad when it was announced on Tuesday. He would be the logical replacement should Jones be unable to rejoin the squad ahead of the tournament, which begins on Friday.
Jones' departure is unlikely to effect Pim Verbeek's preparations for the opening game against Germany on 13 June, as Mark Schwarzer has fully recovered from a thumb injury and played full games in the warm-up matches against the United States and Denmark.