Battle for Bolt goes global
THE publicity blitz around Usain Bolt's proposed trial at the Central Coast Mariners could cost the A-League club the opportunity to cash in on the Jamaican sprint star's switch to football.
Clubs from around the world have been alerted to the potential riches on offer by signing Bolt, with the Mariners now facing a battle just to get their mooted six-week trial over the line.
AAP understands teams in Turkey, Hungary and the US are among those to have entered the race for the eight-time Olympic champion.
Some of them are keen to offer Bolt a contract straight away rather than put him through his paces first as the Mariners intend to do.
Central Coast chief executive Shaun Mielekamp is set to fly to London this weekend in an attempt to seal the deal with Bolt, his long-time agent Ricky Simms and Australian intermediary Tony Rallis, who first floated the 31-year-old's availability to A-League clubs.
Simms told AAP on Tuesday the Mariners were only one of a number of options on the table for Bolt.
Mielekamp will also meet with Mike Phelan, the Mariners' new football director, who will reportedly be responsible for overseeing the trial if it happens.
If it doesn't, the Mariners have at least got their name out there.
Independent media monitoring analysis conducted by the club has shown 130 million people read about Bolt's link in the 30 hours following the revelations. It would have cost them $4.5 million to buy the same amount of media coverage that was generated.
Some have dismissed it as a brazen publicity stunt and Football Federation Australia, which has been asked to tip in about $900,000 from their marquee player fund in the event Bolt were to succeed in his trial, has reacted somewhat coolly to the prospect.
"It's completely random," Brisbane Roar striker Adam Taggart said when asked about Bolt's potential A-League move.
"But I guess if that's what Central Coast are keen to do, then that's what they're keen to do.
"It'd obviously be pretty interesting to have a character like that in the league. I'm just happy I'm not a defender having to run against him if he does come."