Bolt ‘un­likely’ to earn Aussie deal

China Daily (Canada) - - SPORTS -

GOS­FORD, Aus­tralia — Usain Bolt has been ex­cluded from team prac­tice with the Cen­tral Coast Mariners af­ter his man­age­ment re­jected a con­tract of­fer.

The eight-time Olympic cham­pion sprinter has been on an in­def­i­nite trial pe­riod with the A-League club since Au­gust in a bid to be­come a pro­fes­sional soc­cer player.

He scored two goals in a pre­sea­son friendly but wasn’t in the lineup for the Mariners’ A-League sea­son opener last week­end, a 1-1 draw at Bris­bane Roar.

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”.

The Mariners is­sued a state­ment on Tues­day, say­ing: “To en­sure that there is no dis­trac­tion to the A-League squad in pre­par­ing for this week­end’s match ver­sus 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.”

No de­tails of were con­firmed.

The 32-year-old Bolt re­tired from com­pet­i­tive ath­let­ics last year and has since ex­plored pro soc­cer op­tions in Ger­many, South Africa, Nor­way and Aus­tralia in hopes of gain­ing a con­tract.

His first match for Cen­tral Coast, 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 skep­tics have ques­tioned the Ja­maican’s abil­ity to play at an elite level while the of­fers oth­ers have writ­ten it off as a pub­lic­ity stunt.

In the state­ment, Cen­tral Coast said it was try­ing to keep the soc­cer 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.”

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