JFF Wants Leon Bailey to Return to Jamaica’s Senior Team: Bulter Outlines Strict Conditions

Craig Butler, adoptive father and agent of footballer Leon Bailey, has outlined the criteria for Bailey’s potential return to the national squad, amidst a dispute with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and his suspension from the Reggae Boyz team.

Despite Bailey‘s impressive performance for Aston Villa in the English Premier League, his suspension from the national team stemmed from breaking team camp curfew regulations during the international window in November.


However, a recent interview with Bailey revealed his frustration with the JFF’s handling of travel, accommodation, and equipment issues, leading to controversial comments about his intention to step away from international duties.

While both Michael Ricketts, President of the JFF, and Butler express a desire to settle the dispute and potentially facilitate Bailey‘s return, discussions have not yet materialised. Ricketts emphasised his respect for Bailey and his wish for an amicable resolution, acknowledging Bailey’s concerns but hoping to restore their previous positive relationship.

However, Butler stressed the need for urgent resolution, citing concerns about unprofessional treatment and the fair inclusion of players associated with his football academy in the national programme. He outlined that any resolution must address these issues permanently, not just as a temporary fix.

Butler told the Jamaica Observer that a key condition to Leon Bailey’s return involves the fair inclusion of players associated with his Phoenix Academy into the national programme. “It has to reach a point where Phoenix players are not being ostracised just because they’re from Phoenix, or if [players] come to Phoenix, they won’t make the national team,” he outlined.

Craig Butler interview
Craig Butler

Key to Leon Bailey‘s return to the Reggae Boyz, according to Butler, is the fair treatment of players from his academy within the national programme. Butler emphasised the need to end the ostracisation of players associated with his academy and ensure their fair consideration for national selection.

If a resolution is reached before the next squad selection in May, Ricketts hopes Bailey will bring his club form to the national team, aiming for a successful performance in upcoming World Cup qualification matches and the Copa America.

RELATED: Leon Bailey off the Bench to Score Crucial Goal in Aston Villa’s Win vs Arsenal

Jamaica’s national team faces a crucial summer with World Cup qualification matches against the Dominican Republic and Dominica, followed by participation in the Copa America group stage against Mexico, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

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