football

Sprint legend Usain Bolt in talks over six-week trial with Australian A-League club Central Coast Mariners



Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt has entered into discussions to sign for Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners on a trial, the club have confirmed.

The discussions are for Bolt to sign on a six-week trial period and no contract is guaranteed, though Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported that a season-long deal could be offered if he impresses.

“The Central Coast Mariners remain committed to discussions with the world’s fastest man and his management team, regarding what role the club may play in Bolt’s burning ambition to become a professional footballer,” a statement said.

Bolt’s agent Tony Rallis had earlier confirmed that the sprint legend had agreed a deal “in principle” with the Mariners, who finished bottom of the A-League table last season.

“The deal between the Mariners and Usain Bolt in principle has been agreed, subject to a couple of benchmarks,” Rallis told the Big Sports Breakfast on Tuesday.

“Mainly, a trial, and of course marquee funds support from the FFA. Once the FFA comes back and says that they’ll be part of the process, we’re going to the trial.”

Bolt, 31, has made no secret of his desire to pursue a career in professional football after retiring from the track last year, and has had trials with Borussia Dortmund and Stromsgodset. He was also one of the headline names involved in last month’s Soccer Aid match at Old Trafford, which raised more than £5 million for Unicef.

Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp insisted that his club’s interest in Bolt is more than a mere publicity stunt. “This is a very real football opportunity, this is not a stunt or gimmick – we want to know if Usain can play,” he told the Telegraph.

“If he can, let’s light up the A-League and bring one of the biggest named athletes in sport to the central coast.”

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