Black Immigrant Daily News
Reggae Boy Leon Bailey is fully onboard with the national football programme, the Jamaica Football Programme (JFF) has said.
The pronouncement by the JFF by way of a statement on Saturday comes just days after the federation publicly rapped Bailey, telling him to put up or shut up, for making “unsubstantiated remarks” during an interview where he accused the JFF of corruption and of taking steps to prevent him from acquiring a visa to travel overseas when he was much younger.
Bailey claimed the efforts to block his progress were due to his relationship with founder of Phoenix Academy, Craig Butler, the adopted father for Bailey.
Bailey, who had a belated entry into the Reggae Boyz set up despite numerous attempts to get him to play for Jamaica, currently plies his trade at Aston Villa in the English Premier League.
It was Butler who took Bailey to Europe where his talents were further developed at Genk Academy after which he became a much sought after player in Europe.
During the interview, Bailey implied that the same situation relates to another outstanding youth player, Dujuan ‘Whisper’ Richards, who is conditioned at Phoenix Academy and plays for Kingston College in the Manning Cup. Richards is reportedly on his way to Genk with Butler at the end of the football season.
Bailey also claimed that only certain players are allowed to represent Jamaica, depending on the clubs they play for.
The JFF rubbished the claims.
“The JFF can categorically state that none of the accusations made in the interview are factual. However, if there is any evidence at all supporting these allegations, we ask again in this case that this be shared with the JFF so that it can be acted upon as any action as alleged is unacceptable and would be dealt with strongly by the JFF”.
The federation indicated that the matter would have been referred to the team manager and coach for review, as they are the ones who deal with issues relating to the players and the team.
That meeting has now been held and the full statement issued by the JFF is attached:
“The JFF is pleased to report that team manager Roy Simpson and head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson met with Leon Bailey after an interview where he made controversial statements.
“Both officials held fruitful and frank discussions with Leon. The player expressed his full commitment to the national programme and team, and both the team manager and coach expressed their satisfaction with Leon as a valuable member of the Reggae Boyz team.
“The JFF had nothing to do with the discussions, as the administration and board do not interfere with coaching responsibilities. This is a good corporate governance directive coming from the president.”
JFF’s general secretary Dennis Chung said, “as the report is now in I will speak with Leon, who is someone I have known for many years and I consider him a good person and am very proud of his achievements,” said general secretary Dennis Chung.
“The events over the last few days have been unfortunate, but the JFF believes that this only makes us stronger as a team. The JFF wants to express our commitment to not only Leon, but all our players and staff, and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the success of the Jamaica football programmes”.