Bailey announces break from international football: "Jamaica’s national team is not doing anything for me..."

By March 21, 2024

Aston Villa and Reggae Boyz attacker Leon Bailey has confirmed that he’s taking a break from international football after being suspended by the Reggae Boyz for their upcoming Concacaf Nations League semi-final against the USA in Dallas.

Bailey’s suspension came due to him reportedly breaking curfew and not staying at the team hotel during the Reggae Boyz last camp in November.

As a result of this as well as a number of other factors he brought up during the latest episode of the Let’s Be Honest Podcast hosted by social media star Jaiifrais on Wednesday, Bailey has decided to take a break from representing the Reggae Boyz, essentially saying it’s not worth it.

“Jamaica’s national team is not doing anything for me. Jamaica’s national team is not going to give me exposure. Playing for Jamaica is not going to make Real Madrid call me. I am shining light on the national team by playing overseas and representing as a Jamaican all the time. People know Leon Bailey everywhere in the world,” he added before going further.

“It’s two things I’ve always asked them for and every time, I can’t get it. You have people booking flights for me and sending me from England to Jamaica with three different stops. All I ask for is a proper flight and a room by myself and I can’t get that. If I don’t go the national team I can go on my vacation and I can live good,” he said.

“I am Jamaican and I love my country and hopefully one day my kids can come up and grow up in a better environment than I did but sometimes I think about it and realize that these things were happening before I was born so, can I be the change? There’s only so much a person can endure because I can’t be putting my best foot forward every time and all I get is disrespect and people not showing up for me at all,” he added.

 

Bailey then quickly clarified his two main motivations for playing for the national team.

“I’ve dealt with it all these years because I want to stay grounded but really and truly I don’t have to deal with it. I’m not here for money or exposure. I’m here to help the team get to the next World Cup and try to change the environment for kids growing up,” he said.

Specifically, regarding the suspension, the Aston Villa star says he wasn’t surprised and that he was considering a break from the National Team even before the suspension was handed out.

“I did break curfew but that’s normal. Every player does that. After your last game for your country, you’re going to travel the next day. Nobody is staying at a hotel. It’s just the way how it was presented that I didn’t like. He did say to me that he wasn’t going to invite me to the next camp but, way before this happened, I always had it in my head that this is too much on my plate when it comes to the National Team and I was really going to take a break from it and then that just tipped off everything,” he said.

“When he mentioned that to me now I said to myself that I really couldn’t understand because the coach comes to me about everything. Me and him have video calls about any little thing at all. So, for him to look on me and tell me he’s not inviting me to the next camp, I felt that was really harsh and it just said to me that me being in the National Team right now, it really drains my energy a lot,” Bailey added.

Bailey said the relationship between himself and Hallgrimsson is still good but he hoped things would have been handled differently.

“Me and him have a good relationship. We’ve always had a good relationship. I can see where he’s coming from in terms of the style he wants to implement in the National Team but I feel like there has to be more understanding,” he said

The 26-year-old then, once again, turned his attention to the running of the team itself by the higher-ups, blasting the lack of professionalism surrounding it relating to things such as travel and equipment.

“A lot of people don’t know that most of the time, I book my own flights to come and represent Jamaica because they are very unprofessional. You’re getting your flight details 11pm to travel the next day. Jamaica National Team doesn’t pay us. I can’t remember the last time I received a dollar from the National Team. It’s very unprofessional in ways you can’t even imagine,” he said.

He went on to give more examples.

“You’re turning up and they don’t have equipment for you. You’ll go and they’ll only have a one shirt for you and you have to find shorts. Players turn up to games and it’s a women’s shirt they print out for them to wear. It’s ridiculous and they don’t know how to operate. When we go places I feel exposed,” he said.

“No, never,” was Bailey’s response to the question of whether or not he’s ever voiced these concerns to the JFF.

“I try to mesh with everybody and I never want to give any of my teammates the feeling that I’m more than them. I am not that person and If I want the team to do well, I can’t make anybody feel like I’m better than them,” he said.

 As for the length of his break, Bailey refrained from giving a specific time.

 

 

 

 

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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