'Bull Head' Butler gets his way

January 10, 2018
Leon Bailey
Criag Butler with Darren Mattocks conducting a training session with his Phoenix Academy players at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium.
Craig Butler with his son, Kyle.

Craig 'Bull Head' Butler, adoptive father of Bundesliga star Leon Bailey and controversial founder-owner of Phoenix Academy, appears to have forced the hands of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and is now on the verge of being offered a major role, following a meeting in New Kingston yesterday.

Butler had been at loggerheads with the federation for some time on the issue of his son, Kyle Butler, getting a call-up, and Leon Bailey representing the national team, contingent on him having a more influential role in the JFF.

The JFF yesterday issued a release, which, in part, read, "Leon Bailey will be called to the national team for upcoming fixture on January 30, and, if confirmed, a home fixture during the March 19-25 FIFA international window".

Though not referring directly to Kyle Butler, the release went on to state: "...the JFF and the technical staff of the senior team is committed to call and give a fair chance to young players who show good potential for the senior team".




Most important, the release, as it related to Butler, stated: "Mr Butler indicated the areas in which he would like to contribute to the programme."

Contacted by STAR Sports yesterday, Butler, though not wanting to give away much, disclosed that he was offered a better position by the JFF but refused to divulge what his role would be.

"They were more amicable and open to solutions. It is possible we can find solutions so good young talent will be given a chance to play for Jamaica. I am hopeful for Jamaica's football future and for the young men and women to realise their true potential," he said, adding: "It's a beginning and we are looking for a positive outcome for everybody."

JFF president Michael Ricketts confirmed Butler got his wishes.

"Yes (he will be offered a more influential role in the JFF). I can definitely say, yes. So things are looking up. Things really worked out in favour of both parties. There are things I can't divulge as yet but we are seeing eye to eye," he said.




Ricketts confirmed Phoenix Academy players were part of the discussions.

"His position has changed drastically and we will now start having a proper relationship. We are absolutely sure we will have better relations with Mr Butler, Phoenix and the young players under his supervision," he said, news confirmed by Butler.

"That (Phoenix players) was a part of the discussion and they (JFF) were amicable. We will meet again (soon) and put pen to paper and see how it goes," he said.

Butler had met the federation on two previous occasions but had stormed out of the last meeting prematurely after JFF officials disregarded his position, which left both parties at loggerheads. After yesterday's impromptu meeting, Butler believes they are now on the road to progress.

"It (meeting) was a little more amicable than previous meetings. The people that were in this meeting were more amicable towards the solutions that will benefit our country," he said.

Also in attendance were JFF general secretary Dalton Wint, Cavalier's boss Rudolph Speid, JFF communications officer, Janice Rose Brown, and St Catherine FA president, Peter Reid.

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