Not so fast JFF: Phoenix president says Leon Bailey not available yet

Leon Bailey

Phoenix Academy president Craig Butler has poured cold water on the statement issued by the Jamaica Football Federation on Tuesday in which is stated that Butler’s son Leon Bailey will be called to the Reggae Boyz squad for an international friendly against South Korea this month end.


Following a meeting between members of the JFF administration and Butler on Tuesday, the JFF released a statement saying, “The President (Micheal Ricketts) indicated to Butler that player Leon Bailey will be called to the national team for upcoming fixture on January 30th (non-FIFA date) and if confirmed a home fixture during the March 19-25 FIFA international window.”


Leon, a winger for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, has scored six times in 22 appearances for the club so far this season and is in the middle of the transfer window during which reports say he is being sought by a number of English Premier League clubs.


However, in a statement released Wednesday by the Phoenix Academy in response to the JFF statement, the academy sought to clarify the matter.


“Both parties will need to have ongoing discussions regarding whether or not Leon Bailey, Kyle Butler or any other Phoenix player will play for the national football team. , Butler also stated that this will not be an overnight fix as there is much to do to improve the sport of football in Jamaica,” the statement said, highlighting that the meeting was amicable.


According to the statement, Tuesday’s discussions “is the beginning of many meetings to come before a final agreement is made. Butler also shared his views about what is needed to improve the sport in Jamaica and that it will be an ongoing process.”


Also, discussed was the need for a transparent selection system and a National Development Football Programme that will create more opportunities for our homegrown young talent.


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Leon Bailey: Jamaica Football Federation: Craig Butler