JFF president optimistic of resolving issues with Leon Bailey ahead of upcoming World Cup qualifiers

By April 18, 2024

Michael Ricketts, the President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), remains hopeful that the ongoing issues between the association and Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey will be resolved soon.

Bailey was dropped from the national team after breaking curfew prior to a crucial Nations League semi-final against the United States in late March. Subsequently, Bailey, speaking on the ‘Let’s Be Honest’ podcast, aired his grievances publicly, criticizing the JFF's professionalism and citing reasons for taking a self-imposed break from international football.

In response, the JFF issued a detailed statement refuting Bailey’s allegations.

On Thursday, Ricketts expressed regret over the situation and emphasized the player's past dedication to representing Jamaica on the field.

"I just think it is so very unfortunate and I hope he really doesn’t mean what he is saying," said Ricketts. "He probably was a little bit upset but we are hoping that things will settle down because he has given his all for his country.

“I remember, I think it was after the Canada (in the Nations League quarter-final) game that he came up to me and said ‘President, you know every time I go on the field I try to do my best because I am representing my country’ and I guess he felt bad because he didn’t do as well as people were expecting.

“And when he said that to me, I just thought that here is somebody, who it might not be working for him then but his heart is in the right place.

“I remember years ago, (West Indies cricket great) Viv Richards was going through a bad patch and when he was interviewed he said that you lose form but you don’t lose class and if you have the class the form will come back and I am just hoping that these issues and these utterances from Bailey will, sooner rather than later, be sorted out and that we can re-establish a proper relationship.”

However, Ricketts expressed concern over the tendency of airing internal grievances in public, particularly given the widespread reach of social media.

"I really don’t think he (Bailey) had an issue that had to be played out in the public," Ricketts remarked. "It’s just unfortunate and we are just hopeful that we will be able to sort these things out and have them amicably settled rather than going public because social media, it’s all over the world. So whatever you say or do the whole world will know."

Despite the current challenges, Ricketts expressed optimism about restoring a positive relationship with Bailey in time for upcoming national team activities.

"We are hoping that the coach (Heimir Halgrimsson) will work this out," Ricketts concluded. "I know the coach really wants to have this sorted out quickly. He is very disappointed but at the same time he is very optimistic that he will get it sorted out soon."

The JFF remains committed to addressing and resolving any issues with Bailey to ensure a harmonious working relationship moving forward. Jamaica will begin its World Cup campaign against the Dominican Republic on June 6 at the National Stadium in Kingston. Their next match will be against Dominica in Dominica on June 9.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Leverkusen star Wirtz named Bundesliga Player of the Year Leverkusen star Wirtz named Bundesliga Player of the Year

    Florian Wirtz played a starring role for Bayer Leverkusen this season and has been named the Bundesliga Player of the Year.

    Wirtz scored 11 goals and provided a further 11 assists on the way to helping Leverkusen win their first-ever top-flight title.

    The forward was pivotal in Leverkusen’s title charge as they became the first German team to complete an unbeaten season.

    Only Victor Boniface has scored more goals than Wirtz this campaign, netting 14 times, while his tally of 11 assists is second only to Alejandro Grimaldo (13) across the Bundesliga.

    Wirtz came off the bench to score a hat-trick in Leverkusen’s 5-0 win over Werder Bremen in April which clinched the title with five games remaining.

    The Bundesliga champions still have the German Cup final on Saturday against Kaiserslautern, which follows the Europa League final against Atalanta on Wednesday.

    Wirtz played a critical role in helping Leverkusen reach their third European final, having been involved in eight goals in the Europa League this season (four goals, four assists), the most of any player in the team.

    He has also created 28 chances from open play in the competition, a tally only five players can better in a Europa League campaign, most recently Amin Younes for Ajax in 2016-17 (30).

    In all competitions, Leverkusen’s unbeaten run stretches to 51 matches, as they aim to finish an unbeaten season with a treble.

  • Kane injury doubt for England Euro 2024 squad Kane injury doubt for England Euro 2024 squad

    Harry Kane may be a doubt for England’s Euro 2024 squad as he continues to struggle with a back problem.

    Gareth Southgate is due to name his preliminary squad for Euro 2024 on Tuesday, ahead of upcoming friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland. 

    The England captain missed the final two Bundesliga games of the season after going off towards the end of Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid.

    Thomas Tuchel confirmed prior to their final match against Hoffenheim that Kane was back in England to undergo treatment.

    When later asked again about the nature of the striker’s injury, Tuchel admitted that Kane had been struggling for a couple of weeks.

    "In Madrid, it was borderline. We tried injections and treatments. The back has completely closed.

    "It has gotten worse and kept breaking out in small, everyday movements. There's no chance he's even training."

    Kane scored 36 league goals in his debut campaign for Bayern, though due to the injury, he finished five adrift of Robert Lewandowski’s single-season goal record of 41, set in 2019-20.

    The final announcement of Southgate's 26-man squad will be revealed on June 7, ahead of the tournament opener against Serbia on June 16.

  • Pochettino prioritising continuity as Chelsea draw up transfer plans Pochettino prioritising continuity as Chelsea draw up transfer plans

    Mauricio Pochettino feels continuity will be key for Chelsea ahead of his second season in charge, ruling out the prospect of another clear-out at Stamford Bridge. 

    Chelsea clinched European qualification on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday, a 2-1 win over Bournemouth ensuring they beat Newcastle United and Manchester United to sixth place.

    The Blues finished the campaign with five straight victories, the first time they have achieved that feat since doing so in March 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

    A positive end to Pochettino's debut campaign has quietened talk of his job being under threat, and he wants to see evolution rather than revolution ahead of 2024-25.

    "Does the club need new signings? Always, you can improve," Pochettino said after Sunday's victory.

    "They are going to be much better next season because they will have one year of experience, a tough experience. 

    "That is the advantage of being solid and consistent and not making too many changes.

    "Next season, if we keep 80 to 85 per cent of the squad, for sure it is a big step forward because it is about having continuity in the ideas and the knowledge between them. That is important for the club.

    "That is a club decision. Like it was from the beginning, we [the coaching staff] are going to be there to help and if not, we are going to do our job."

    Chelsea only lost one of their final 15 matches of the Premier League season (nine wins, five draws), with that defeat coming by a 5-0 scoreline at Arsenal in April.

    Only Manchester City, Arsenal (16 each) and Liverpool (12) won more Premier League games than Chelsea's 10 between the turn of the year and the end of the campaign, with their total of 43 goals in that time ranking them fifth among all teams in the division. 

    Chelsea's overall tally of 77 goals in 2023-24 was their third-most in a Premier League season, behind only their title-winning campaigns of 2009-10 (103) and 2016-17 (85).

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.