Usain Bolt: Olympic legend ‘unlikely’ to sign Central Coast Mariners contract without ‘financial contribution from third party’, reveal Australian club

23 Oct

Usain Bolt is ‘unlikely’ to sign a contract with Central Coast Mariners ‘without financial contribution of an external third party’, the Australian club have announced.

The Jamaican icon has been offered a professional football contract with the A-League side, having impressed on a trial.

There has been worldwide interest in Bolt’s performances for Central Coast Mariners

The 32-year-old former sprinter, winner of eight Olympic gold medals, joined the club on a ‘indefinite trial’ over the summer and recently scored his first two goals in a friendly.

It appears Bolt, a Manchester United fan who has dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, has won a few admirers with his performances, with recent reports claiming a Champions League-chasing club were interested in his services.

It appears he has impressed Central Coast Mariners chiefs enough for them to offer him a deal, too.


WATCH: Usain Bolt opens account with two goals for on-trial club Central Coast Mariners


However, the Aussie club have conceded it is unlikely they will agree terms without financial help.

In a statement posted on the club’s official website, the Mariners said: “The Central Coast Mariners and Usain Bolt’s representative Ricky Simms have progressed contract discussions and would like to offer clarity around the negotiations between the club and Usain Bolt.

“The club can confirm that a contract proposal has been offered by the Central Coast Mariners and negotiations remain ongoing with Usain Bolt and his management regarding his football future.

Bolt wears the number 95 – a nod to his world record 9.58 100m time

“Both parties are eager to explore all options and ensure that if there is a suitable way forward for both player and club, the two parties will keep working together and formalise an agreement.

“The Central Coast Mariners want to ensure that Usain Bolt is given every chance possible to fulfil his dream to become a professional football player.”

Bolt’s brace came earlier this month in a friendly against Macarthur South West, having joined the club in August for a training period.

“There are two main terms of discussion involved in this negotiation – football and commercial,” the Mariners added.

“Regarding the football terms of the negotiations, 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.

Earlier this year, Bolt spent time training with Borussia Dortmund

“We are looking at ways to do this as the club does not have the luxury to be able to do this in the Hyundai A-League.

“Regarding the commercial terms of the negotiations, Usain Bolt’s management and the Central Coast Mariners are in conversations with external partners to find a commercial solution that suits all parties.

“It is important to note that contract values speculated in the media are incorrect. 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 Hyundai A-League squad in preparing for this weekend’s match versus Melbourne City, Usain Bolt will not attend team training this week, until and if the club and Usain Bolt can agree to terms and formalise an arrangement.”

Bolt completed the ‘triple-treble’ by winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m golds at the 2016 Olympics in Rio

Home nations agree to let Team GB women’s football team go for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

2 Oct

A British women’s football team will have been cleared by the four home nations’ football associations to try and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, FIFA has confirmed.

Team GB has avoided competing at football tournaments in the Olympics in the fear of tempting FIFA to force England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to permanently compete as a United Kingdom team.

Team GB’s women’s football team made the quarter-finals at London 2012

These concerns were put aside, though, for London 2012, when a men’s team took part for the first time since 1972 and a women’s team competed for the first time. But, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales still opposed to playing as a combined British team, no agreement was reached to enter teams for Rio 2016.

FIFA has always said it would sanction a British Olympic team, providing the Football Association, Irish Football Association, Scottish Football Association and Football Association of Wales all agreed to it.

After much cajoling by the British Olympic Association, that agreement has been reached but only for a women’s team.

In a statement from the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, FIFA said it has now “received written confirmation” from the four FAs, confirming their desire to see a British women’s team in Tokyo.

The men’s team were also knocked out at the quarter-final stage

England, now ranked third in the world, are the nominated country to try to qualify for the 2020 Games, which means they will need to be one of the top three European nations at next year’s Women’s World Cup in France.

The British team in 2012 won all three of its group-stage games, including a 1-0 win over Brazil in front of 70,000 fans at Wembley, but lost 2-0 to Canada in the quarter-finals.

Captained by Casey Stoney, the British squad of 19 players was made up of 17 from England and two from Scotland, although Northern Irish goalkeeper Emma Higgins was on the reserves list.

As well as the update on the British Olympic team, the FIFA competitions committee also approved the procedures for the 2019 Women’s World Cup draw, which takes place in Paris on December 8.

There will be four pots of six teams, with teams allocated to each pot according to their FIFA ranking, and teams from the same confederation will be kept part, except for three of the nine European sides in the draw.

This means England and Scotland could be drawn against each other. Northern Ireland and Wales failed to qualify.

The committee, which is chaired by the president of European football’s governing body UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin, also discussed a proposal to increase the prize money for the tournament and set up a fund to compensate the players’ clubs for the first time, bringing the women’s tournament in line with the men’s.

This issue was raised by UEFA vice-president Karl-Erik Nilsson at the FIFA Congress before this summer’s men’s World Cup in Russia, with several leading figures in the women’s game saying it was overdue.

Usain Bolt handed trial with Australian A-League club Central Coast Mariners

7 Aug

Usain Bolt has taken a step closer to his dream of becoming a professional footballer after being handed an “indefinite” trial with Australian club Central Coast Mariners.

Bolt in action in a exhibition game to mark the 20th anniversary of France’s 1998 World Cup victory earlier this summer

The eight-time Olympic champion has expressed his desire to move into the beautiful game after hanging up his spikes after a legendary career on the track.

Jamaican star Bolt has already trained with several clubs around the world, including Borussia Dortmund, Stromgodset and Mamelodi Sundowns.

He also took part in Soccer Aid with a host of football legends and celebrities, including Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.

Bolt is a big Man United fan and dreams of pulling on a Red Devils shirt in the Premier League

And his performances and sheer enthusiasm have earned him a shot at earning a contract with the A-League side Down Under.

He said on Central Coast Mariners’ official website: “I am very excited about coming to Australia and would like to thank the owner and management of the Central Coast Mariners for giving me this opportunity.

“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League.

“When I spoke to the head coach Mike Mulvey on the phone he outlined the ambitions of the club and his plans for the upcoming season.

“I hope I can make a positive contribution to the club and look forward to meeting the other players, staff and fans in the coming weeks.

“I always say that, ‘Anything is possible, don’t think limits’, and I look forward to the challenge.”

Bolt has played in a series of exhibition games this summer to prove his quality with a football – including Soccer Aid

The Mariners have insisted that the extended trial is not a commitment to a contract, but want to give the Jamaican a chance.

They said in a statement: “The Central Coast Mariners can today confirm that Usain Bolt has committed to an indefinite training period with the club, with the aim to develop the ‘world’s fastest man’ into a professional footballer.

“The agreement between the Central Coast Mariners and Usain Bolt does not guarantee a professional playing contract but does provide the eight-time Olympic gold medallist with an opportunity to achieve his burning desire to play football professionally.”

Chief executive Shaun Mielekamp added: “Our goal is to be the most innovative, entertaining and community minded sports brand in Australia, this is our competitive edge.

“Having Usain Bolt come to the club to train and hopefully develop into a professional football player is perfectly aligned to this part of the club’s philosophy.

“It is important that we don’t get too caught up in the hype of possibilities, but the reality is that Usain Bolt has placed his faith in the Central Coast Mariners to accelerate his football journey.

“Whilst we all know this must be tempered with the reality that there is a job to do and hard work ahead, we are committed to building a team that will win matches and instil belief, hopefully Usain can help us on this mission.”

The Mariners begin their A-League campaign in October.

US Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte accepts 14-month doping ban

23 Jul

Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte has accepted a 14-month doping ban, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has confirmed.

The American swimmer posted a picture of himself and his wife receiving intravenous infusions on Instagtam and, just as former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri discovered when he made the same mistake in 2016, IV drips or injections of more than 100 millilitres of fluid in a 12-hour period are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency even if the substances are legal.

In a statement, USADA said: “Ryan Lochte has accepted a 14-month sanction for his use of a prohibited method.

“On May 24, Lochte posted an image on social media depicting himself receiving an intravenous infusion.

“A subsequent investigation by USADA, with which Lochte fully co-operated, revealed that Lochte received an intravenous infusion of permitted substances at an infusion clinic in a volume greater than 100ml in a 12-hour period without a therapeutic use exemption.”

Lochte has won 12 Olympic medals

Lochte has won 12 Olympic medals, six of which are gold, during his long career in the pool – a total second only to American rival Michael Phelps’ tally – and three times has been named swimmer of the year by the sport’s world governing body FINA.

But this is not the Florida-based swimmer’s first scrape with controversy and he is arguably more famous for the story he invented at the Rio Olympics in 2016 to cover a drunken night out with three team-mates.

Lochte claimed he and his friends had been robbed at gunpoint by men wearing police badges and uniforms but this story soon unravelled, provoking outrage in Brazil and embarrassment in the United States. He was later given a 10-month suspension by Swimming USA and he may still face a criminal charge in Rio for filing a false police report.

To the surprise of many, though, he had returned to swimming after his suspension and was scheduled to race at next week’s US Nationals.

That is now impossible, though, as he is banned from competition until July 23, 2019, a week and a half before his 35th birthday.

Former Olympic and World champion Christine Ohuruogu retires from athletics

30 Jun

Christine Ohuruogu, the former Olympic and double world 400m champion, has formerly announced her retirement from athletics.

Ohuruogu celebrates her gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

The 34-year-old, who won Olympic gold at Beijing 2008 and silver at London 2012, had indicated last year that this season would be her last on the track.

And the 2007 and 2013 world champion confirmed on Saturday morning she was hanging up her spikes.

Today is the start of the British Championships and, as I won’t be there competing, I feel it is a good time to formally announce my retirement from competitive athletics,” a statement on Ohuruogu’s website read.

“I didn’t feel ready to retire after last season but a combination of my studies and a niggling injury restricted how much training I was able to do this year.”

Ohuruogu is halfway through a law degree at Queen Mary’s University, London.

Her last major medal came two years ago, when she was part of the 4x400metres relay team which won bronze at the Rio Olympics.

Ohuruogu served a 12-month ban from athletics for missing three out-of-competition drugs tests between October 2005 and July 2006, returning just in time to clinch her first outdoor world crown in Osaka in 2007.

A British Olympic Association bylaw meant all doping offences were punishable by lifetime Olympic bans, putting her participation in Beijing in doubt.

However, she appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which upheld the suspension but said it believed it was just a case of her being forgetful when the testers arrived. The ban was eventually lifted in November 2007.

Ohuruogu followed up 2008 gold with a silver at her home Olympics in London in 2012

The London-born Newham & Essex Beagles club member, who took up athletics in 2001 in a bid to boost her netball skills, looks back fondly at her career.

“Athletics has been my passion for so long and I am proud to call myself an athlete,” she said. “I love the diversity of the events and the brilliant characters that come from them.

“I have truly met some wonderful people over the last 15 years, competing around the world, and I am blessed to call many of them friends.”