Ricketts: JFF calls the shots, not Butler
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts has advised Phoenix Football Academy Founder Craig Butler that if he wants to be considered for the role of director of football in the national programme, he must go through the same selection process as others.
Ricketts told The Gleaner that the JFF will not bow to Butler's demands and that there are certain procedures he must follow if he expects to be considered for the role.
Butler and members of the JFF, including interim national senior men's team head coach Theodore Whitmore, recently had a meeting regarding a possible call-up to international duty for his son and client Leon Bailey. However, it has been reported that that meeting ended abruptly when Butler was thought to be making unfair and unrealistic demands. Butler confirmed on national television on Tuesday night that he had requested a technical role within the JFF, but Ricketts said that he had also asked that Bailey is selected along with his other son, Kyle Butler, and two other players developed by the Phoenix Academy.
Director of football role
Ricketts also said that Butler asked for the position of director of football in the federation. This position is currently occupied on an interim basis by former national Under-17 men's team coach Wendell Downswell, after Vin Blaine's departure from the JFF for a similar role in Grenada in June.
Butler's request comes after a recommendation by former national head coach Winfried Sch‰fer, earlier this year that his former assistant Miguel Coley be considered for the same position. Ricketts, before running for JFF president, had also said that Coley's talent was being wasted by the JFF, and if he won the election, he would consider him for a role he had not yet decided on, in his administration.
Butler had a public falling-out with both Blaine and Coley because in 2015 when Coley was the head coach of the National Under-23 team, which had been trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics, he had not given Bailey as much playing time as he wanted in that campaign. This was the last time Bailey had represented Jamaica at any level.
"Becoming the director of football involves a process which entails meeting requirements," the president said. "So he has to submit to the chairman of the technical committee an application with his resume and qualifications. These, to be taken before the board of directors."
When asked if Butler's requests had hurt Bailey's chances of future selection, Ricketts said: "No, not at all! Not from my personal perspective. If Leon wants to play and responds to the coaches' invitation, no problem!"
However, Ricketts made it clear that invitations to Bailey will not be extended because of pressure and will go through specific channels.
"Bailey's call-up will be exclusively based on merit, and the invitation will be extended through his club (Bayer Leverkusen, in the German Bundesliga)," Ricketts said.
As for the selection of a permanent director of football as well as a general secretary to replace outgoing Raymond Grant, Ricketts said that the JFF's board will make a decision on these matters in "a few weeks".