Why the A-League is better off without Bolt

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Usain Bolt has done his dash with the Central Coast Mariners, and the A-League should be thankful for it. 

The eight time Olympian’s ‘indefinite training period’ with the Central Coast Mariners came to an end earlier in the month.

Bolt was involved in a number of pre-season matches for the Mariners, most notably scoring two goals in a friendly match in Campbelltown.

And although the fastest man in the world would bring money and fans to the league, he’d also bring a whole lot of doubt and criticism to the integrity of Australian football.

READ: Why no Bolt in the A-League is a bad move

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The presence of the 32-year-old in the Central Coast Mariners would certainly lower the standards of the A-League.

Obviously Bolt is an extreme athlete, and watching him play would be an attraction in itself – but at what cost? The Jamaican doesn’t have enough skills or experience to make a name for himself in football, and he wouldn’t make the starting 11 of Mike Mulvey’s squad anytime soon.

Although the Mariners did offer Bolt a contract, the club and the star sprinter couldn’t come to a decision that financially would satisfy both parties. It was rumoured that Bolt was asking for $3 million, a big difference from the $150,000 that the Central Coast Mariners were willing to fork out.

And it’s fair enough: many players within the A-League, who have a hell of a lot more footballing experience than Bolt, are earning less than this. With the FFA claiming it would not help to fund Bolt’s contract, and no money being put aside from the marquee kitty, it was always going to be difficult for the Mariners to put together a contract that would give Bolt the big bucks.

But should money even be a problem for Bolt? The ex-Olympian still earns over $30 million a year despite his retirement from athletics.

And, despite claiming his deep desire to become a footballer, Bolt still didn’t accept the contract offered to him by the Mariners. It makes you wonder, if Bolt really just wanted to become a better footballer, he would’ve taken the deal no matter how much money was involved. Which is exactly why the league is better off without him.

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The Central Coast Mariners are known for their philosophy of developing young players, giving them a chance to eventually play for the first team.

If Bolt was given a position in the squad, it would take away an opportunity for another young player, who has been working hard and training for a number of years. Australian football is good enough to not need Usain Bolt – if anything, Bolt’s training period with the Mariners has highlighted the intensity and talent within the A-League.

If Bolt was to walk in and receive a contract from a professional A-League club, Australian football would be a farce. In reality, Australia has good enough players without needing to bring in athletes from completely different sports (world-class or not).

Although you have to admire Bolt’s confidence, claiming after a couple of months he’d be “playing like one of the guys” – but anyone one who knows anything about football would know that the sprinter – or anyone else – wouldn’t be A-League quality after such a short period of time.

If the Mariners had signed Bolt, it would’ve been horrendous for the club and the league. Signing Bolt simply for the fact that his fame will bring people to games lowers the standards of Australian football. You wouldn’t sign Kylie Minogue, so why would you sign Usain Bolt?

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Lani Johnson
Bachelor of journalism student from the University of Sydney covering Sydney FC. Passionate about writing and football.

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