Sport Football Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt quits A-League trial at Mariners

Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt quits A-League trial at Mariners

The Jamaican sprinter said last month he wouldn't call himself a footballer until he signed a contract with Central Coast Mariners. Photo: AAP
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Usain Bolt has quit his A-League trial, rejecting a contract offer from the Central Coast Mariners.

The Olympic sprint great has been unable to strike a deal with the Mariners, which largely hinged on finding a commercial partner to boost his salary.

Bolt had been on trial at the Mariners for the past two months.

Central Coast were understood to have offered Bolt a contract in the vicinity of $150,000, without any guarantee that the Jamaican would get an A-League game.

Bolt’s camp, the Mariners and Football Federation Australia had been seeking a commercial partner to increase the amount of the offer.

Mariners’ owner Mike Charlesworth said the club and Bolt had concluded they wouldn’t be able to settle any suitable deal in a timely manner.

“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 released by the club on Friday.

“I wish the club success for the season ahead.”

Charlesworth deemed Bolt’s trial “mutually beneficial” for the club and the eight-time Olympic gold medallist.

“We have been thrilled to have … (him) as part of our club for these past eight weeks,” Charlesworth said.

“For the Mariners, it has 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 A-League.”

Charlesworth said Bolt had made “great strides as a footballer” during his trial but the 32-year-old was widely thought to be well short of A-League standard.

The retired eight-time Olympic gold medalist remains the world record holder in the 100m, 200m and 4×100m relay. Photo: AAP

Bolt made his professional football debut for the Mariners when coming on as a substitute in a friendly game against a local Central Coast select team on August 31.

On October 12, he scored twice in another friendly, against amateur club Macarthur South West United.

Six days later, Bolt was offered a two-year contract from Maltese club Valletta, which he rejected.

The Mariners then offered Bolt a contract in a move coinciding with the start of the A-League season.

Bolt had been considering the deal in the past fortnight.