Bolt excluded from Mariners practice un­til con­tract re­solved

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport -

USAIN Bolt has been excluded from team practice with the Aus­tralian soc­cer team Cen­tral Coast Mariners af­ter his man­age­ment re­jected a con­tract of­fer.

The eight-time Olympic gold medal­ist has been on an in­def­i­nite trial pe­riod with the A-league club since Au­gust in a bid to be­come a pro­fes­sional foot­ball player.

He scored two goals in a trial game but wasn’t in­cluded in the squad for the A-league sea­son opener last week­end, when Cen­tral Coast had a 1-1 draw in Bris­bane. Mariners coach Mike Mul­vey said he wasn’t aware the club had made an of­fer to Bolt.

The Mariners are in talks with Bolt’s agent, Ricky Simms, but have said “with­out the fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion of an ex­ter­nal third-party, it is un­likely that Usain Bolt and the Cen­tral Coast Mariners will agree to terms.”

“To en­sure that there is no dis­trac­tion to the A-league squad in pre­par­ing for this week­end’s match vs. Mel­bourne City, Usain Bolt will not at­tend team train­ing this week, un­til and if, the club and Usain Bolt can agree to terms and for­mal­ize an ar­range­ment,” the Mariners said in a state­ment Tues­day.

No de­tails of the of­fers were con­firmed.

The 32-year-old Bolt re­tired from com­pet­i­tive track and field last year and has since ex­plored op­tions in Ger­many, South Africa, Nor­way, and Aus­tralia to gain a pro­fes­sional soc­cer con­tract.

His first game for the Mariners, an ex­hi­bi­tion against a se­lec­tion of am­a­teur play­ers, at­tracted a big crowd, and Bolt’s bid to join the A-league has gen­er­ated plenty of head­lines. But some crit­ics have ques­tioned Bolt’s abil­ity to play at an elite level and oth­ers have writ­ten it off a pub­lic­ity stunt.

In a state­ment, the Mariners said club of­fi­cials were try­ing to keep the foot­ball and com­mer­cial ne­go­ti­a­tions sep­a­rate.

“Usain has made great pro­gres­sion dur­ing his time on the Cen­tral Coast and we feel that he will im­prove fur­ther with more in­di­vid­ual in­ten­sive train­ing and com­pet­i­tive game time,” the state­ment said. “We are look­ing at ways to do this as the club does not have the lux­ury to be able to do this in the A-league.”– AP

Photo: AP

In this Aug. 21, 2018, file photo, Ja­maica’s Usain Bolt speaks at his press con­fer­ence with the Cen­tral Coast Mariners soc­cer team in New­cas­tle, Aus­tralia.

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