Leon Bailey Takes Break From Reggae Boyz After Suspension, Blast JFF

Jamaican international football player Leon Bailey says he was about to take a break from playing for the Reggae Boyz regardless of his recent suspension by the team coach and the Jamaica Football Federation.

In his new interview on the Let’s Be Honest podcast, the Aston Villa winger was highly critical of the JFF organization, which he calls unprofessional, and explained that he does not get paid to play for the national team.

Leon Bailey says he was surprised that he was suspended for what the coach says was breaking curfew, something he admitted actually happened. However, the suspension and other issues between himself and the JFF organization lead him to decide to step away from playing for the Reggae Boyz.

“I did break curfew but that’s normal,” the footballer said. “Every player does that. After your last game for your country, you’re going to travel the next day. Nobody is staying at a hotel. It’s just the way how it was presented that I didn’t like. He did say to me that he wasn’t going to invite me to the next camp but, way before this happened, I always had it in my head that this is too much on my plate when it comes to the National Team and I was really going to take a break from it and then that just tipped off everything.”

Jamaica’s national team is not going to give me exposure,” Bailey said. “Playing for Jamaica is not going to make Real Madrid call me. I am shining light on the national team by playing overseas and representing as a Jamaican all the time. People know Leon Bailey everywhere in the world.”

Bailey revealed that while he is not getting paid to play for the national team, he had two requests that the team administration failed to fulfill.

“It’s two things I’ve always asked them for and every time, I can’t get it,” he said. “You have people booking flights for me and sending me from England to Jamaica with three different stops. All I ask for is a proper flight and a room by myself and I can’t get that. If I don’t go the national team I can go on my vacation and I can live good.”

Despite the difficulties of playing for the national team, Bailey says he has put his pride aside to represent his country on the international level and wants to help the team get to the next World Cup. However, unprofessionalism within the running of the JFF makes it difficult for him.

“A lot of people don’t know that most of the time, I book my own flights to come and represent Jamaica because they are very unprofessional,” Bailey vents. “You’re getting your flight details 11pm to travel the next day. Jamaica National Team doesn’t pay us. I can’t remember the last time I received a dollar from the National Team. It’s very unprofessional in ways you can’t even imagine. You’re turning up and they don’t have equipment for you. You’ll go and they’ll only have a one shirt for you and you have to find shorts. Players turn up to games and it’s a women’s shirt they print out for them to wear. It’s ridiculous and they don’t know how to operate. When we go places I feel exposed.”

Leon Bailey also addressed his relationship with the Reggae Boyz coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, saying they had a great relationship, which made it all the more surprising when the coach told him that he was not invited to the next camp.

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