Bailey feels ‘wronged’ by JFF hierarchy
Leon Bailey has revealed that the delay in his debut for the Reggae Boyz was his decision not to represent the country at that time.
Speaking on a local podcast dubbed 'Toxic Talk' with host Jaii Frais, Bailey claims he faced serious impediments during the early stages of his career by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), the governing body of the sport on the island.
Since his debut, Bailey has played for the Reggae Boyz 18 times while scoring three goals.
"A my decision, everything wah me do was my decision. Me neva want to represent the country at that time, not because a wah nobody else seh. A lot of people don't know seh from me about eight or nine me a get fight from the Jamaica Federation. Top man inna the federation, till this day today cyaa look inna me eye," said Bailey.
The 25-year-old Bailey, who currently plies his trade in the English Premier League (EPL) for the Unai Emery coached-Aston Villa, believes the battle he is fighting with the JFF could be stemming from his relationship with adopted father Craig Butler.
"Yeah, dem a fight me from me a likkle yute. Them even try block me from going to Europe. The man dem link embassy and dem thing deh, fi nuh mek me get visa. The last time me guh Europe a Cuba me affi fly to and get me visa, enuh. The man dem block every embassy a Jamaica suh we nuh get the visa fi cut (leave), enuh, and this a some 12-year-old (Leon Bailey) who a try mek it." he added.
When contacted, Rudolph Speid, chairman of the JFF Technical Committee, dismissed the claims by Bailey, calling them inaccurate.
"One, The JFF has no interest in any nine-year-old player. Two, the person who was president at that time was Captain Horace Burrell, in 2007, when he was nine, 15 years ago. Three, we have no such power over the various embassies about who they issue visas to or not," Speid said.
Bailey stated that despite the setback, as he grew older he realised representing the country was more important to him than holding grudges against the JFF, which he felt had wronged him in his childhood days.
"At the end a the day me seh you know wah, me cyaa be so petty no more and a me country. Me would a love fi mek history wid the country and me nah guh mek because a them people deh and wah dem try do to me when me a likkle yute, mek me have hatred fi the country," he cited.
Bailey, who in recent times, has been linked to Chelsea FC in England, rubbished claims that he along with Butler wants control of the country's federation, but rather wants Jamaica to move forward as a nation.
"It was never about control for me. Jamaica's system is too corrupt. Me just want our country to move forward as a nation. Me want to see other Jamaicans like myself a play at the highest level," he voiced.
Bailey pointed out that he is seeing changes and the stance Reggae Boyz players often take in his view is for the betterment of the national programme.
"Now me can say things are getting better. We are doing it for the next generation to come because we want to see a better Jamaica in the future competing at the World Cup," he said.