Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Bailey's International future unsure

Published:Saturday | December 31, 2016 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott
Bailey

Craig Butler, the father and agent of fast-rising Jamaican football star, Leon Bailey, has claimed rumours that his son will represent Belgium over Jamaica in international football are false. Butler was referring to a recent report by espn.com, which made the suggestions about the Belgian League star's intentions.

Butler says Bailey did not give an interview, as none takes place without his consent, and that it was just what he describes as "sensationalist seeking journalists trying to create an impression". Butler says Bailey and younger brother Kyle Butler, who is also a part of the KRC Genk set-up, both have "great aspirations" to play for their country.

However, he says the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has ignored his calls for a meeting to chart the way forward for sustained youth development, and this, he says, continues to be the main obstacle in the talented youngster turning out for his country of birth.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

"When the JFF is ready to talk to Craig Butler about football culture and a system of development for our country's footballers that will sustain development and offer players like Leon Bailey, Kyle Butler, Kevaughn Atkinson, Kemo Jackson, Chevaughn McLaren, Alex Marshall and others a solution that gives them a chance to be able to compete internationally with some measure of success, then they will consider putting on the national colours," he said.

"However, to date, the JFF or its president has made no effort to sit and meet for a solution and these same players are being courted by Nice, Roma, Man U, Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen to name a few. We have opened doors in Croatia, Italy, Malta and Spain, so do not believe the world stops turning until the JFF says it must start," he continued.

Butler says the Belgian national team is monitoring the situation closely as they are very interested in tying the future of the young winger to their squad and Butler says if the JFF continues to ignore the situation, they could soon lose out on the player..

"Leon might soon be gone because Jamaica has made no effort. The coach of the Belgian national team is calling him while the JFF president is ignoring you, so it's not Leon's fault if he does not play for Jamaica. He and Kyle wants to play for their country but if Jamaica does not want them, they have better options.

"The two players will be moving in January to a Champions League club and they are guaranteed first team football. So by February any chance they have of playing for Jamaica might be gone," he said.