Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Laurie Foster | JFF must maintain control in Bailey issue

Published:Wednesday | March 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM

It now seems clear that as far as representing the country of his birth is concerned, the chances of Bundesliga star player Leon Bailey to make himself available for Jamaica are next to zero. The long going saga involving the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the 20-year-old's agent, Craig Butler, who is his adopted father, has reached a stage where any outcome, other than "sorry Jamaica, but there are other options," appears unlikely.

This makes, along with England player, another highly skilled winger, Raheem Sterling, two Jamaicans who have snubbed the invitations to have them sign up to join the Reggae Boyz. How long can the nation afford to be without its home-grown talent, as it seeks a permanent berth at the world stage? Is there a better attempt that could be launched to attract these players to play a role in the building or restructuring of the local model to bring it closer to that of the country they eventually hope to represent? To answer the second question, Foster's Fairplay believes that the JFF have missed the boat.

Try and forget about the hurdles placed in his path, in earlier times, for Daddy Craig to develop the talent he had brought within the confines of his Phoenix Football Academy. The matter on which we need to focus is that there was no doubt that he had assets that were marketable in the Jamaican and overseas systems. Bailey's rise to world attention has proven this. In addition, he had what should have been considered to be a viable plan. This was simply put: "Allow me to create a football culture within the game as it is played in Jamaica and only then will I make my players available for national duties."




The JFF, as did many football fans, found that position untenable. To accept that would, in the opinion of the Butler doubters, place him in a position from which he could manipulate the system to what was deemed to be his own selfish ends. What the federation appeared to have forgotten is that they were in charge of the sport and could make and enact decisions that could remove the Earth from under his feet at any time, if Butler followed up with actions that were not in the best interests of the local game.

Leaders must be leaders, and they are not expected to take steps that could ruin the confidence and morale of those who they have been elected to lead. Nor are they supposed to capitulate at the mere mention of something that seems threatening to their power base. As powerful and influential as Butler claims to be, he is not or should not be allowed to run the show in the way that he sees fit. Any plan to introduce the philosophy he has been talking about should, prior to acceptance, be placed under scrutiny by the JFF and perceived flaws identified by technically equipped persons. Adjustments could be made in conjunction with the conceptualiser and the plans concretised before they are unleashed on the players at the various levels. There is no evidence that any of this was done. These happen to be features of any negotiations and Foster's Fairplay thinks that it was the fear factor coming from Butler's stance, that evoked the stand-off, which has triggered the reported walk-away by Butler and his crew.

Now, Jamaica stands to suffer if Butler carries out alleged plans to seek another country for which to have his boys display their awesome skills. It is reported that England will be the next target, at least for Leon and his younger sibling, Kyle Butler. Opinions have been expressed that they do not qualify, although, as it is reported on the website, the two are eligible since Butler's parents are English. The England manager, Gareth Southgate, is to name this week two squads for pre-World Cup friendlies.

A lot more will be revealed then.

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