Australian club that gave Usain Bolt trial chance face uncertain future

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Aug 04, 2020, 01.19 PM(IST)

File Photo of Usain Bolt. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Australian football club Central Coast Mariners, who gave a chance to Olympic sprint legend Usain Bolt for the much-talked-about trial in 2018, face an uncertain future with its chairman/owners revealing that he is leaving the club.

Australian football club Central Coast Mariners, who gave a chance to Olympic sprint legend Usain Bolt for the much-talked-about trial in 2018, face an uncertain future with its chairman/owners revealing that he is leaving the club.

Mike Charlesworth, who helped Central Coast Mariners from financial ruin in 2013, said he would sell majority of his stake or hand it back to the A-League if he could find a buyer. 

“After 10 years of involvement with the Mariners, I feel the time is right for me to now step aside and to look for a new investor to take on the ownership of the Club,” the Briton said in a club statement.

The Mariners, who defeated Melbourne Victory 3-2 in Western Sydney on Monday, are finishing bottom for the fourth time in five campaigns. 

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However, Mariners Chief Executive Shaun Mielekamp is “optimistic” that a buyer would be found to keep the team on the Central Coast but conceded the future was unknown.

Cherlesworth’s chairmanship commenced in 2013 with an immediate triumph as the Mariners claimed the maiden trophy under Graham Arnold. But since then, it has been a downward spiral for the club with the chairman angering the fans for running the team on a shoestring budget. 

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The Mariners enjoyed a brief surge of global publicity when eight-times Olympic champion Bolt came to the sleepy Central Coast in eastern New South Wales state but the Jamaican was unable to agree terms and left after a few months.

England-based Charlesworth told Australian broadcaster SBS that he had tried to bring in investment from European clubs but the COVID-19 pandemic had changed everything.

“Everyone is suffering from top to bottom but even more so the small to medium-sized clubs,” he said.

“The global market has been very hard hit.”

(With inputs from Reuters)