Football star Wayne Rooney tonight blamed taking sleeping pills with alcohol during a flight for being arrested on public intoxication and swearing charges by airport police in America.
The ex-England captain – currently playing for US Major League Soccer side DC United in Washington – was held on December 16 after touching down at the city’s Dulles airport on a private jet flight from Saudi Arabia.
He was arrested after triggering a door alarm at the airport, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
Wayne Rooney has been arrested for public intoxication and swearing charges in Washington DC. Pictured, Rooney’s mugshot
In a statement to the Press Association, his spokesman said the footballer was apprehended after a lengthy flight from the Gulf state where he was on a one-day business trip.
“During the flight Wayne took a prescribed amount of sleeping tablets mixed with some alcohol consumption and consequently was disorientated on arrival. He was approached by police who arrested him on a minor misdemeanour charge,” the spokesman said.
“He received a statutory automatic fine and was released shortly afterwards at the airport. The matter is now at an end.
“Wayne would like to put on record his appreciation for the manner he was treated by all involved.”
Rooney, who is still banned from driving in the UK after he was caught drink-driving, set off the alarm but did not breach airport security, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police said.
“Mr Rooney was charged with public intoxication and transported to Loudoun County Detention Centre to be held until sober,” a statement added.
Court files state he paid a fine of 25 US dollars (£19.65) and costs of 91 dollars (£71.50) over his latest offence.
Two days before the arrest he posted an image online of himself in a car at the Riyadh Formula E championship race in Saudi Arabia.
Rooney, in September 2017, admitted drink-driving on a night out when he was caught driving a woman’s Volkswagen Beetle when nearly three times the legal limit.
He was banned from driving for two years and ordered to carry out unpaid work in the community.
After a return to Everton, he transferred to DC United and made his debut on July 14 last year.
“We understand the media’s interest in this matter but we believe this is a private matter for Wayne that DC United will handle internally,” his current team said.
The former England captain posted a photo on his Instagram during the out-bound private jet flight to Saudi Arabia in December
Rooney, pictured with his wife Coleen and their children, was arrested on December 16, in Loudoun County, Virginia, home to Washington Dulles airport
Court proceedings were slated for January 24 but were dropped when the $2.78m-a-year striker paid a $25 (£19.65) fine two days ago.
In US law public swearing and intoxication is a regarded as a ‘class 4 misdemeanour’ – a minor crime.
Rooney, who is currently serving a drink-drive ban in the UK, had been on a short business trip to Saudi Arabia before the latest drama unfolded.
The striker posted social media pictures of himself at the Riyadh Formula E championship race in the days before the incident.
While flying back to Washington, he took sleeping pills and consumed alcohol, his spokesman said, making him ‘disorientated’ upon arrival.
‘During the flight Wayne took a prescribed amount of sleeping tablets mixed with some alcohol consumption and consequently was disorientated on arrival,’ Rooney’s spokesman said in a statement.
‘He was approached by police who arrested him on a minor misdemeanour charge.
Rooney was bailed without a fee and paid a $25 fine (£19.65) on Jan. 4, which would only take him 4min 43sec to earn. He was also ordered to pay costs of $91 (£71.50). Rooney is pictured leaving Stockport Magistrates Court after facing a drink-driving charge on September 18, 2017
‘He received a statutory automatic fine and was released shortly afterwards at the airport. The matter is now at an end.
‘Wayne would like to put on record his appreciation for the manner he was treated by all involved.’
A spokesman for Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said: ‘He was booked into the Loudoun County Adult Detention Centre on December 16 2018, on a charge of public intoxication stemming from an arrest by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police.
‘He was later released on a personal recognisance bond.’
A mugshot released by police shows Rooney in an orange jail jumpsuit.
Rooney signed a three-and-half-year deal with DC United worth $2.78m-a-year in June last year. Based on his salary it would take him 4min 43sec to earn the money to pay his fine. He was also ordered to pay costs of $91 (£71.50).
Wayne Rooney of DC United during the MLS match between DC United and Colorado Rapids at Audi Field on July 28
It is believed Rooney left Washington shortly after his arrest to spend Christmas with wife Coleen and their four sons at their UK home in Cheshire.
Rooney is currently 13 months into a two-year drink-driving ban and has completed 100 hours of community service which was part of his punishment.
In September 2017 he admitted drink-driving on a night out when he was caught driving a woman’s Volkswagen Beetle when nearly three times the legal limit.
Rooney last played for DC United on November 2, when his side were knocked out of the MLS Cup.
The former Manchester United and Everton striker missed a penalty during the 3-2 defeat following extra time.
Rooney, England’s former captain and all-time top scorer, joined the Major League Soccer in a deal that was reportedly worth more than $12 million – making him the highest paid player in DC United’s history.
He was the latest addition to an elite list of former England captains to hop across the Atlantic, following David Beckham and Steven Gerrard.
Rooney joined Manchester United for £25m in 2004 and stayed there for 13 seasons – winning five Premier League titles, one Champions League, one FA Cup, three League Cups and becoming the club’s all-time leading scorer with 253 goals.
The 2019 MLS season is due to start in March.
A spokesman for DC United said: ‘We are aware of the news reports indicating that Wayne Rooney was arrested in December. We understand the media’s interest in this matter but we believe this is a private matter for Wayne that D.C. United will handle internally. We have no further comment on this situation.