Football Federation Australia have ruled out dipping into their marquee fund to help pay for Usain Bolt to play for Central Coast Mariners – but may find some marketing cash instead.
Usain Bolt is reported to have been offered a contract by Central Coast Mariners, although specifics of the deal have not yet been confirmed.
There is speculation it may be a cash offer to tie him to the club and allow the Mariners to retain their option on signing him full-time when he completes his training and trial with the club.
But some have suggested the club has offered him a full-time contract, despite a denial of any deal by Mariners coach Mike Mulvey over the weekend.
Today the FFA Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke dismissed any suggestion the FFA would chip in on a marquee contract for Bolt at the Mariners.
But he admitted the FFA had spoken to the Mariners about paying to use the fame of the 100m world record holder and international superstar to promote the A-League.
And he opened the door to the FFA coughing up marketing dollars to subsidise the multi-million dollar contract Bolt will expect if he signs.
"The FFA's been consistent that they won't fund him as a footballer," O'Rourke told SEN radio station in Melbourne. "That won't change.
"Purists would say if you have money to invest, we don't think you should put it into a trialist like Usain.
"The marquee fund has secured players like Keisuke Honda and Sam Kerr, people with football pedigree.
"Bolt has yet to become a professional footballer anywhere in the world."
But he added: "There were some conversations about contributions towards attendances - appearance fees, if you like."