JFF awaits clubs' response despite Bailey, Butler snub
National senior men's football team manager Roy Simpson said he is still awaiting a reply from the clubs of Leon Bailey and foster brother Kyle Butler about their availability for the upcoming international friendly match against Antigua and Barbuda at Sabina Park in Kingston, on March 25.
Bailey, who plays for Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga, and Butler, of St Andrews FC in the Maltese Premier League, will not be available for the game as Phoenix All Star Football Academy told the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in an email that the duo will be in Berlin, Germany at the same weekend, attending a Jamaica Tourist Board event.
But Simpson said that it does not matter what the email claims, as what is important to the JFF is the clubs' response to the Federation's emails.
"We haven't gotten any reply from any of the clubs, so it is interesting that we got an email from Phoenix to say that both players have declined," Simpson said. "We have replied to the email and acknowledged that we have received the email, but we are still waiting on a reply from the club."
When asked if the JFF will verify that the players have indeed committed to an engagement with the Jamaica Tourist Board, Simpson said: "Any organisation would want to verify that, but that fact of the matter is it is just like if you are having a wedding and invite me, and I say I am not going to attend because I am going to a funeral, does it really make sense in you verifying that I am going to the funeral," Simpson Questioned.
Phoenix's email also stated that both players are focusing on their club careers and do not wish to be a part of the national programme until 'a national football culture is implemented that is beneficial to the sport in Jamaica'.
Phoenix also criticises the JFF for tagging the social media handles of Bailey and Butler on a flyer to promote the football match on social media site Instagram.
The tension between Phoenix founder, Craig Butler, and the JFF dates back to last year when Butler stated publicly that he is available to the JFF to create a national football culture, to enhance the growth of the sport.
However JFF president, Michael Ricketts, shot down Butler's proposal, saying that if he wants a role in the Federation, he should do like everyone else who sought employment with the body, by submitting his rÈsumÈ.