Usain Bolt’s A-League experiment over
USAIN Bolt's time with Central Coast has come to an end after the Jamaican sprint star's management failed to find suitable commercial partners to supplement the A-League contract on the table.
Nearly a fortnight after the Mariners offered Bolt a fraction of the originally discussed $3 million to realise his professional football dream, the club confirmed his agent, Ricky Simms, had been unable to make the paltry deal palatable enough to continue his stay in Gosford.
"I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners owners, management, staff, players and fans for making me feel so welcome during my time there," Bolt said in a statement issued by the Mariners on Friday.
"I wish the club success for the season ahead."
Bolt is in Melbourne, having agreed to stay away from training until his future is clarified, and is expected to travel to Europe soon for a previously agreed commercial engagement.
Bolt's camp had upped the ante on a contract after the 32-year-old scored two goals in a pre-season friendly with a Macarthur South West United side of NPL players.
After Bolt was offered and rejected an unconditional contract from Maltese outfit Valletta FC, the Mariners eventually tabled an offer but for far less than Bolt's expectations, with coach Mike Mulvey making clear he would almost certainly not get game time in the A-League.
Part of that was $100,000 funded by a marketing agreement with Football Federation Australia, while it's understood the club added their own contribution, though it's unclear how much.
Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth, who made a significant personal investment to bring the eight-time Olympic gold medallist to the club on an indefinite trial, wished him all the best.
"Despite the fact that we could not come to an agreement that would continue Usain Bolt's football journey with the Central Coast Mariners, we've been thrilled to have the Olympic champion sprinter and world record holder as part of our Club for these past eight weeks," Charlesworth said.
"For the Mariners, it's been a pleasure to work with Usain as he pursued his desire to become a professional football player.
"This has been a mutually beneficial partnership that brought an increased level of excitement and attention to both the Mariners and the Hyundai A-League.
"From day one, Usain dedicated himself to being part of the Mariners. He integrated very well into the team and made great strides as a footballer.
"Most notable, was his performance in Campbelltown where he scored two goals helping the Mariners secure a 4-0 win against Macarthur South West United.
"Whilst we understand that Usain will not be part of the Club going forward, the Central Coast Mariners wish him all the best in his future endeavours and we hope that opportunities arise to collaborate in other capacities in the future."
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