Leon Bailey Reneges on Jamaica Call-Up over Brother Demands

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2018

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 23: Leon Bailey of Leverkusen controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at BayArena on September 23, 2018 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey has reneged on his decision to play for Jamaica internationally because the Reggae Boyz didn't keep their promise of calling up his brother, Kyle Butler.

As shared by Goal's Ronan Murphy, the former Genk man finally appeared to end questions about his international future by accepting a call-up from Jamaica, but he has since refused to play:

In an interview with the Gleaner's Livingston Scott (h/t Mirror's Mark Jones) he revealed the snub of his brother was a big reason for not playing.

Bailey was supposed to play against Bonaire on Sunday but sat out the match.

He explained his decision-making to the Gleaner:

"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.

"I am here for one reason: to represent the country. But they (JFF) didn't keep their end. Once they are willing to do that, I am ready to put on the national team jersey.

"By this November, if they are willing to go ahead with whatever we've asked of them, I'll be ready to represent my country. It (Kyle's snub by the JFF), is a big part of it. I need players who can understand me. You can't expect me to jump in a system and expect it to work. I need help. I am a winner, a Phoenix, and I don't like losing, so I need people who I know are capable of making things happen"

It's but the latest twist in a long-running saga that has become one of the biggest subjects in Jamaican football. 

Bailey has been linked with several national teams, including those of England and Belgium, even though the 21-year-old is currently ineligible to play for either of those sides, per Murphy

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

His agent and adopted father, Craig Butler, has openly feuded with the JFF, blaming the "culture" for Bailey's refusal to play for the Reggae Boyz so far.

Per Murphy, Butler also said the English FA contacted him regarding Bailey, telling RJRNews the Three Lions called for both of his sons. Because of the Home Nations agreement, Bailey can not become eligible for England.

He also hasn't lived long enough in any European nation to qualify via citizenship.

As explained by Murphy, Jamaican commentators believe Butler is using the situation to increase his own standing, as he wants to be part of the governing bodies in the country.

Bailey's brother Kyle plays his football in the lower divisions in Austria and has previously played in Belgium and Malta. The 20-year-old has yet to convince since making the move to Europe.

Per the Gleaner, the JFF wants Butler to have a trial first and earn his spot on the team, but Bailey disagrees, arguing others who play at a lower level are not required to do so.

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