“If the country does not want him, then …” - Craig Butler defends Leon Bailey’s comments

By May 20, 2020
bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey

The agent of Bayer Leverkusen star, Leon Bailey, has reacted angrily to statements made by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in response to comments made by his player on Instagram.

Earlier this week, JFF president, Michael Ricketts, and his general secretary, Dalton Wint, indicated anger at comments the player made suggesting the organization would be at fault if the Reggae Boyz were not at the next World Cup in Qatar.

The JFF was also displeased with Bailey’s criticism of Reggae Boyz coach, Theodore Whitmore.

Bailey had suggested that Whitmore’s squad rotation policy was counterproductive and didn’t engender the building of chemistry among players.

According to Butler, Bailey’s comments were made to a friend talking to him about his life, suggesting that the player was free to have an opinion in his private capacity.

Both Wint and Ricketts had suggested that there were contractual obligations that the player had that would make his comments out of order but Butler has refuted this as well, saying while Bailey has been playing for Jamaica, there is no contract between him and the JFF.

Wint had said he would be issuing a cease and desist order on the player in a bid to show the JFF would not be tolerating that kind of behaviour but Butler has said the organization has no legal standing to issue such an order given that the two entities have no contract.

“We as the management of Leon Bailey had sought a contractual agreement with the Jamaica Football Federation with the player. In this way, the player would be entitled to know what is and is not expected or allowed by the JFF and our client would be also aware of what to expect as compensation for his services.

“To date, our client has not been provided a contract to agree or not agree to,” read a statement from Phoenix Sports Management on Butler’s Facebook page.

“Article 3 of the Fifa statutes address the right to freedom of speech and also the responsibility of officials to ensure that freedom of speech and expression is not compromised,” read the statement.

Butler also went on to say Bailey’s statements were right on the money with the JFF being directly responsible for the success or failure of its senior unit given that it was in charge of team selection.

“He [Bailey] lay the responsibility for success or failure directly at the feet of those ultimately responsible for selection, team management and business negotiations. The Jamaica Football Federation

There can be no Authority without Responsibility,” the statement read.

“Nothing in Bailey's verbiage was libellous or inaccurate,” it went on.

Butler went on to speak about player compensation, placing the blame, at least in part, for an injury Bailey suffered because of the lack of payment.

“Our client has had to pay his own airfare to games. Our client suffered a hamstring injury which was clearly contributed to by having to fly 13 hours with several stops in economy and then asked to train the very next day,” Butler’s statement read.

According to Bailey’s management team, issues like the one mentioned in the statement are just some of the facts Bailey could have revealed but chose not to, even though it is his right.

“Our client has to date not been compensated even one penny by the JFF after promising to pay the players after the last game. Our client had not exposed this to the public or that this was an across the board situation of mismanagement by the JFF.

Our client could have said many things yet he decided against doing anything other than put things in true perspective.”

According to Phoenix Management, Bailey has spoken out about poor treatment in his capacity as a club player but faced no sanctions by the club because it was seen as his right. The same, he said, has been true of others in the JFF hierarchy, who have faced no sanctions.

“Carvel Stewart president of HARBOUR VIEW FC RECENTLY made some scathing remarks regarding the JFF and its leadership and protocols. Yet we haven’t heard of any sanctioning of this a JFF board member in a leadership capacity,” read the statement.

According to Phoenix management, Bailey’s statements are correct and it stands behind them.

But the management team went even further, suggesting Bailey would stop playing for the national team if it were proven that any of his statements were untrue.

“Should it be in the best interest of football, Leon has no problems taking time off international football if his countrymen and teammates believe his statements are untrue.

He has to travel long distances to come back to Jamaica from Europe to train and perform for his country. If the country does not want him, then we will consider our options for him during international breaks to be to work on his attributes and skills.”

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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