Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt’s agent has confirmed the sprint star could be on his way to the A-League, after agreeing to a deal “in principle” with the Central Coast Mariners.
Bolt, 31, is set for a six-week trial with the Mariners starting next month, with a season-long deal on the table should he make the grade.
“The deal between the Mariners and Usain Bolt in principle has been agreed, subject to a couple of benchmarks,” his agent Tony Rallis told the Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday.
“Mainly, a trial, and of course marquee funds support from the FFA,” Rallis said.
“Once the FFA comes back and says that they’ll be part of the process, we’re going to the trial.”
Bolt, whose motto on his Twitter page reads “Anything is possible – I don’t think limits”,has long spoken of his desire to play football professionally once his athletics career ended, and he has had trials at Bundesliga giant Borussia Dortmund and Norwegian club Strømsgodset.
The 195cm left-footed Jamaican wore 9.58 on his shirt in reference to his 100m world record time during his 20-minute stint for Strømsgodset against the Norway under-19s.
Neither trial produced a contract, but Bolt has not given up.
“I want to try to get better, to work as hard as I can, play as much as I can. Maybe a club will see something and decide to give me a chance,” Bolt said after his Norway cameo.
The Manchester United fan also plays in celebrity matches, such as the recent France 98 v FIFA 98 match in Paris in June. He also played in a Soccer Aid match between England against The Rest of the World at Old Trafford for UNICEF this year.
Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said the club had researched Bolt’s suitability before agreeing to pursue the trial.
“Apart from him obviously being extremely fast, the feedback we have received from Germany and Norway is that he is a very good learner and shows dramatic improvement after every training session,” Mielekamp was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.
“This is a very real football opportunity. This is not a stunt or gimmick – we want to know if Usain can play. If he can, let’s light up the A-League and bring one of the biggest name athletes in sport to the Central Coast.”
Believed to be funded by the club and several private companies, the lucrative deal could also be subsidised by Football Federation Australia through its marquee marketing fund that Melbourne City used to secure Tim Cahill last season.