Laura Butler: This is not a power game
Laura Butler, a member of the management team at Phoenix Academy, the club founded by her brother Craig Butler, has come out in defence of the football agent following yesterday's strong rebuke by Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts.
Ricketts slammed the Phoenix Academy boss in a Gleaner exclusive yesterday but Laura Butler, in responding to the JFF boss, insists that her brother is not seeking power or looking a job within the JFF, but only wants a professional system in place that allows the best local football talent to be picked on merit.
"Craig is not seeking power or even a job in the JFF. He is very busy looking after the affairs of the Phoenix players who are based in Europe, while also overseeing the development of several young boys, giving them hope for a professional future in the game.
"We have always been consistent (in saying) that we wanted a professional system in place in the JFF that allows players to be selected on merit. A system that means that every boy in Jamaica who loves football, trains hard, shows talent and plays with heart has a fair chance of being selected," Laura Butler said in a release.
She stated her family is deeply patriotic and that they simply just want to continue working to improve the nation's football product.
"Leon, Kyle and Craig love Jamaica very much and are proud Jamaicans. Please let’s get back to working out how to achieve all of our goals. We want to make clear to all citizens in Jamaica - Craig has no intention of having a job in the JFF, this isn’t some sort of power game.
"He is quite happy for someone else to do the work. We simply want to put in place systems that realise everyone's goal of making Jamaica a top football team and bringing pride to our great island.
"Our message is very simple, we want to get back to working to improve Jamaican football and make us into world beaters. We started a process with the JFF ... to find out how we could all work together to do this - but this is yet another unwanted issue brought up," she added.
The release noted that Butler had personally coached and developed Bailey and all Phoenix players, and this has taken a lot of hard work and personal sacrifice.
"Many of the older ones are now playing in Europe ... If you go to any of our daily training sessions you will see for yourself the talent and hard work among all ages of the Phoenix. We welcome anyone to come along and see for themselves," she added.
Yesterday Ricketts said he would refuse to let Craig Butler use the JFF like a 'patty shop' with his demands for a position in the JFF and a place for his son Kyle in order for the highly rated Leon Bailey to turn out for the Reggae Boyz. Bailey, a brilliant winger for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, is Butler's adopted son. He is being chased by some of the top clubs in Europe after an outstanding 2017-18 season so far for Leverkusen.
There have also been reports that the Bailey could qualify to represent the England national team through the grandparents of Craig Butler.