Bolt decision soon: A-League boss

Central Coast Mariners are waiting for a decision from Usain Bolt after they offered him a contract.The head of the A-League Greg O’Rourke says Usain Bolt could decide within days whether to accept a contract offer from Central Coast Mariners.
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“I think it will be played out in a matter of days or weeks,” O’Rourke told AAP on Wednesday.

The Mariners concede it’s unlikely Bolt will accept the contract, reportedly worth $100,000, unless a third-party agreement can be found to deliver more money to the Olympic sprinting great.

“They have put an offer on the table to Usain and that effectively places the ball in Usain’s court, they’re not sure how he and his management are going to respond to that,” O’Rourke said.

While Bolt’s trial at the Mariners had created worldwide interest and helped promote the A-League, it hadn’t translated to tangible impact on the domestic competition.

“There’s no doubt that he has brought a lot of attention to the A-League and the Mariners,” O’Rourke said.

“And if you think about the digital views of uploading his trial and his goals compared to normal A-League reach numbers, they’re significantly higher.

“But the other point to make is that a lot of those views are international, which is nice, it brings recognition to the league.

“But it doesn’t actually bring people to the gate or subscriptions to n broadcasters.

“So how do you take a perceived media value versus an actual sustainable improvement in league metrics?

“I don’t really want to get into the debate except to say that everyone else I speak to has a different view.”

Taking away the promotional aspect, O’Rourke said a key question lingered about 32-year-old Bolt.

“The question has been, and will remain, is he ready to be a footballer? And if so, is he ready to be an A-League footballer?,” he said.

“And the answer to that, at this point in time, from himself and the club is that he’s not ready.”