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14th Oct 2018

Leon Bailey reneges on Jamaica call-up after unusual conditions aren’t met

Wayne Farry

leon bailey

Once thought a possible call-up for England, Leon Bailey now looks set to be Jamaica’s future star

The reason he will not be a future star for England? Especially after lots of speculation and excitement prior to the World Cup? Well, simple. Leon Bailey is not eligible for England.

Yes, his grandparents are English, but due to the fact that they were not born in England, the youngster is apparently not eligible to be called up to Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Understandably, this situation has left Bailey looking elsewhere, and where else better to look than Jamaica, his country of birth.

The Bayer Leverkusen star has been receiving overtures from the Jamaica Football Federation for quite a while now, because quite simply he is very good and would like him to play for them.

There was delight among the nation’s football fans when he agreed to do just that, but there was something of a catch: Bailey would only accept the invitation to play if the JFF also called up his younger brother, Kyle Butler, to play as well.

That seemed sorted and Bailey was all set to play for Jamaica in their  CONCACAF League of Nations game against Bonaire on Sunday.

However, following a meeting with high-ranking member of the JFF, Bailey decided against playing in the game after feeling that the federation had gone back on its word having previously agreed to his terms.

“Obviously, I came to Jamaica because of the international call-up. I did agree to come based on the agreement we had. But when I got here, it was a totally different scenario. They didn’t keep their end (of the deal), therefore, I decided not to play this game,” he told the Jamaica Gleaner.

“I am here for one reason: to represent the country. But they didn’t keep their end. Once they are willing to do that, I am ready to put on the national team jersey.”

The issue regarding his brother is believed to be the one in question. Kyle Butler plays for Austrian second division side LASK Juniors OÖ, though he has agreed a move to first division LASK, which is set to go through in the summer of next year.

The JFF are believed to be interested in bringing Butler on board, but want to bring him on trial first. Bailey is said to be against this, believing his brother to be more than good enough to compete at the require level.

While Bailey remains committed to playing for his country, he remains open about his future, especially if his terms for committing are not met, something which will no doubt wind up football traditionalists.

“I want to be one of the best in the world, and I love my country very much. But I also have to think about my best interest, and coming to play for Jamaica without proper help can damage my career. Not because I am doing well in European football means I can come here and destroy everybody,” he said.