Jones departs World Cup squad

Aussie keeper could miss South Africa due to family illness

Jones: In doubt for South Africa

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Australia goalkeeper Brad Jones is a doubt for the World Cup after returning home from South Africa to deal with a serious illness in his family.

The Australian federation has announced that Jones, a regular understudy to No.1 shot-stopper Mark Schwarzer, was granted leave to travel home to Perth and be with his family on Saturday.

It is unknown whether the Middlesbrough keeper will return to compete in the tournament, which gets underway next week, but the FFA has revealed it is in talks with Fifa over the possibility of bringing in a replacement if required.

"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," said the team in a 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."


Australia coach Pim Verbeek says the keeper is unlikely to rejoin the squad in South Africa.

"We decided to let him go to his family and let him stay there as long as he likes," said Verbeek.

"We expect him not to come back, that says enough about the seriousness of the matter."

Adelaide United stopper Eugene Galekovic has stayed with the squad despite missing out on the final 23-man line-up when it was named on Tuesday, and is the logical replacement for Jones.

Jones' departure is unlikely to affect Verbeek's plans for the Socceroos' opening Group D game against Germany on 13th June, as Schwarzer has fully recovered from a thumb injury.