The Central Coast Mariners will not be allowed to dip into the marquee fund to fend off a full-time offer from a European club for Usain Bolt, says FFA boss David Gallop.
Reigning Maltese champions Valletta FC have made a play to prematurely end Bolt’s open-ended Mariners trial.
Valletta FC revealed exclusively to ESPN that they have offered a two-year deal for the former track superstar to “spearhead their charge to the Champions League,” possibly debuting in mid-December.
It has seemingly put the Mariners on the clock to give him a full-time professional contract despite January being flagged as the probable deadline for a final decision as Bolt tries to rise to A-League standard.
Bolt’s brace for the Central Coast Mariners in Friday night’s trial match against Macarthur South West United is the likely catalyst for the Maltese side’s interest.
The revelation caught FFA boss David Gallop on the hop but he suggested the Mariners might have a decision on their hands.
“The story on the contract in Europe is news to me,” Gallop told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“It’s very much, the ball in the Mariners’ court. He’s clearly improving and it was great he got a couple of goals last Friday night.”
Gallop said there was no chance of using the marquee fund to meet Bolt’s contract demands as its purpose was to attract proven world-class players.
“If they get to that [signing] point then we’ll look at what’s feasible for us but it can’t be for the marquee player fund,” he said.
“We don’t want to compromise what that’s put in place for.”
A clip of Bolt’s maiden goal, posted to Central Coast’s Twitter account, has been viewed more than six million times.
Should the Mariners sign Bolt, the FFA will consider ways to contribute off-field cash in the form of marketing arrangements and facilitating third-party sponsorships.
“If there is a social media play there, then we would explore that,” Gallop said.