06:08 GMT27 January 2020
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    Maltese club Valetta FC has offered eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt from Jamaica, who is now pursuing a pro-football career, a two-year deal. The superstar sprinter is now playing for an A-League club: Central Coast Mariners in Australia.

    David Koch, the co-host of an Australian breakfast TV show, has enraged netizens with his reference to Usain Bolt’s newly opened football perspective in a European club. The Sunrise presenters discussed an offer from Malta’s Valetta FC; the club was trying to lure the star sprinter and aspiring footballer from his current position in Australia.  Koch decided to clarify if Bolt’s Australian Central Coast Mariners would “make a lot of money out of” his possible transfer.

    His colleague dubbed the situation “a win-win,” noting “You keep him, great. You sell him, so be it. That’s the tough world of professional football.”

    “Who said slavery was over — anyway. No,” Koch reacted before switching immediately to another topic.

    ​This remark hasn’t gone unnoticed by disturbed viewers and disgusted social media users.

    ​Many slammed it as racist.

    ​Some insisted that the TV star must be fired or sent away from the country.

    ​In his comment to the Australian website news.com.au, Koch admitted that “it was clumsily put” and he “probably should have explained it better.”
    “Basically the use of the word slavery is a reference I’ve used to defend players who want to trade clubs or change jobs in sport… that you can’t keep them… it’s a free world. There’s no slavery anymore. People have rights,” he explained.

    On October 13, Valletta's ownership group Sanban Investment Group, based in Abu Dhabi, offered 32-year-old Bolt a two-year deal. According to the ABC, the investors, who overtook the club this September, aspire to compete for the UEFA Champions League by next season.

    "This isn't about money, this is about history. This is something that they will talk about in 50 or 100 years' time," Valletta FC chief executive officer Ghasston Slimen told the broadcaster.

    He expressed hope that Valetta FC would be playing against Manchester United, City, Barcelona, and Real Madrid if it got to the group stage, and he’s interested in “making it a historic moment.”

    READ MORE: 'Lighting up the A-League': Usain Bolt in Talks for Soccer Trial in Australia

    In August Bolt started training with the Central Coast Mariners, an A-League club, played a couple of friendly games for them and even scored twice. He has yet to receive a deal from the club, however, the Mariners are said to have “the first right of refusal” if the athlete is offered a contract. Their reaction has been restrained.

    "At the moment, what is out there is very clearly agent-driven to try to pressure the club into making a decision," the club spokesperson told the broadcaster ABC.

    After he retired from athletics, the 8-time Olympic champion from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, switched to football – an ambition he had voiced before. Although he said earlier that his desire was to play for Manchester United, he started his soccer career at the Norwegian club Strømsgodset, before starting training with the Australian club.


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