Leon Bailey's agent hits back at Jamaican FA in 'attitude problem' row

Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey during the friendly against Istanbul Basaksehir. TF-Images/Getty Images

Leon Bailey's stepfather and agent has hit out at the Jamaican Football Association after its president Michael Ricketts accused the Bayer Leverkusen winger of having an attitude problem.

Craig Butler's comments come amid an ongoing dispute that means Bailey has yet to represent the country of his birth.

Bailey, 21, was called up to the Jamaica squad earlier this month but did not make his competitive debut for the Reggae Boyz following the failure to call up his younger brother Kyle Butler, who plays for Austrian club LASK.

"The Jamaican FA's argument that Leon Bailey turned down the invitation to play for his country because he demanded that his brother plays is a terrible and vicious lie," Craig Butler told ESPN FC.

Ricketts had urged Bailey and his agent to be "a little bit humbler and try to deal with things in the correct way," but Butler responded by saying that "humility has nothing to do with principle, and one's principles are the key to life."

He added: "On Leon's arm is a tattoo. It says: 'Out of many people,' Jamaica's national motto. This isn't someone who doesn't love his country. This is not someone who is not humble. But it is also not someone who is afraid to stand up for what he believes in."

Butler claimed the Jamaican FA had agreed to set up a meeting to discuss the broader subject of how national team players are selected in order to "protect the young players of the future," but the meeting had not taken place.

"They told Leon he should just go and play," Butler said, adding that after "previous years of lies and mistrust" Bailey had decided to wait until a "proper professional meeting" with national coach Theodore Whitmore to "understand what his role as a player would be."

Earlier this week, Ricketts said Jamaica were considering calling up eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt if he were to sign a professional contract at a football club.

"The Jamaican FA claims they haven't seen Kyle or Kevaughn Atkinson [of St. Andrews FC] play. They choose not to. Who has seen Usain Bolt play? He may very well continue to develop into a talent.

"But if they are willing to call Bolt with no knowledge of his ability, why do you think they are ignoring players who are playing professionally in Europe for American United Soccer League players and local players?

"I'm certain we will rise and overcome all this, as we love Jamaica."