Bolt says no to Malta champions

Usain Bolt has been on trial with A-League club Central Coast Mariners since August.
Usain Bolt has been on trial with A-League club Central Coast Mariners since August.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY • Sprint superstar Usain Bolt has turned down a contract from Malta champions Valletta FC and will remain in Australia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer, his agent said yesterday.

He has been on trial with A-League club Central Coast Mariners since August.

The 32-year-old scored two goals in a pre-season friendly against a second-tier team last Friday but has yet to be offered a deal.

Valletta, who are backed by a group of investors from the Sanban Group in the United Arab Emirates, had dangled a two-year trial-free contract to entice him away earlier this week.

But Bolt's agent Ricky Simms said he had opted against a move to the Malta Premier League team.

"There is a lot of interest in Usain playing football (and) we receive similar approaches regularly," he said. "Usain does not wish to pursue this opportunity in Malta."

Valletta chief executive officer Ghasston Slimen told ESPN: "We wish Usain Bolt all the best with his football career. The Valletta FC offer is always on the table."

 
 
 

The A-League season starts this weekend, with the Mariners visiting the Brisbane Roar on Sunday. But, without a contract, Bolt is not eligible for selection.

Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said this week that the eight-time Olympic champion "will continue his indefinite training period... until further notice".

Reports suggest that the club are waiting for Football Federation Australia to decide whether it will contribute towards a potential A$3 million (S$2.95 million) offer to the 100m and 200m world-record holder.

Coach Mike Mulvey was reluctant to talk about the Jamaican yesterday, saying he was not involved in contract negotiations.

"I'm really not interested in it (contract speculation)," he said. "He's been great among the guys and I was very happy for him last week with the two goals he scored, but we move on."

Bolt has previously had trials with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway to no avail.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2018, with the headline 'Bolt says no to Malta champions'. Print Edition | Subscribe