Usain Bolt will continue his A-League trial with the Central Coast Mariners after reportedly rejecting a Maltese side’s two-year offer to fly the coop.
The Jamaican sprint champion has ruled out signing with Valletta FC, according to multiple outlets despite Valletta FC putting forward a two-year offer to “spearhead their charge to the Champions League” with an eye toward his potential debut in mid-December, ESPN reports.
The Maltese champions have been notified of Bolt’s decision but left the door open if he changes his mind.
“We wish Usain Bolt all the best with his football career. The Valletta FC offer is always on the table,” the club’s CEO and managing director Ghasston Slimen told ESPN.
Bolt, who bagged a brace in last Friday’s trial match, passed on the news to Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp during a chat after training on Tuesday, News Corp reports.
The 32-year-old remains anxious for clarity on his future amid ongoing negotiations, with a development expected within the next week.
The early indication was that Bolt’s signature required an additional $900,000 from FFA’s marquee player fund.
But the FFA has reaffirmed the Mariners will not be allowed to dip into the fund to sign Bolt, leaving a major shortfall to cover.
Without a full-time deal in place, Bolt won’t be able to play in the Mariners’ A-League season opener against the Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
Newly-named captain Matt Simon toed the club line, insisting it was business as usual at Gosford this week despite the global interest.
“It’s not a distraction at all,” Simon said after training.
“He’s been here for a couple of months now so everywhere we go with Usain, everyone’s talking about him so it’s just been down to business.
“We’re concentrating on the season and just looking forward to round one and putting into practice what we’ve been doing at training for the last 12 weeks.”