Gosford - Usain Bolt has been excluded from team practice
with the Central Coast Mariners after his management rejected a contract offer.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist 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 on 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
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."