JFF hits back after ‘Villa’ star launches scathing salvo in viral video
Jamaica and Aston Villa attacker Leon Bailey. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)

General Secretary Dennis Chung has described the recent comments made by Reggae Boyz winger Leon Bailey against the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) as unfortunate and baseless.

Bailey, who plies his trade for Aston Villa in the English Premier League, accused the JFF of being biased and corrupt, in an interview on the Let's Be Honest podcast on YouTube Sunday.

In the interview, the 25-year-old Bailey also claims the JFF worked with foreign embassies in Jamaica to prevent him from getting visas into Europe when he was younger.

"Dem a try fight we from we a little youth; dem even try block me from going into Europe. Di man them link embassy and dem ting deh fi no make me get visa," Bailey claimed.

"You see, the last time me go a Europe, a Cuba me have to fly to and get mi visa, enno. Di man dem block every embassy a Jamaica so we no get no visa to cut (leave), enno, and this a some 12-year-olds who a try make it, enno, and a Cuba me affi go fi get the visa fi fly out," he said.

"Even if me reach the level of Cristiano Ronaldo, you see with dem people yah weh in a di federation, you will never have control. It was never about control for me. Jamaica's system is just too corrupt. Mi just want our country to move forward as a nation," Bailey added.

However, Chung said in a press release yesterday that Bailey's comments are false and baseless. He said that the federation has tried "not to comment on this", as they were "hoping that the matter would be handled internally".

Chung said the JFF had to respond publicly because of the reaction of the public and stakeholders.

"It is also unfortunate that Leon has apparently felt this way about the JFF, especially while playing for the Jamaica national team and not expressing it, and knowing his commitment to the programme and country," said Chung, in a widely circulated press release.

Noting Bailey's claims that the JFF tried to block him from going to Europe and that the system in Jamaica is "corrupt" Chung said, "We want to say that it is quite unfortunate that these comments were made, and in such a public manner, as we had hoped that we have arrived at a place where any disagreements are handled internally.

"This is quite unfortunate as the JFF has always seen Leon as an important member of the national team, and what he has said is baseless and is consistent with recent similar comments made, which we have called for evidence to be shared, either privately or publicly, so that we can act on it."

Chung also sought to rubbish Bailey's implied argument that the JFF has the capacity to influence decisions of embassies in the granting and denial of visas.

"By saying that the JFF has the capability to block an embassy from issuing a visa also implies that the embassy is complicit with the JFF in acting, as he implies, in a 'corrupt' manner. The JFF can assure everyone that we do not have that ability to influence a visa decision with any embassy, and we would never seek to intervene in such a process," Chung said.

Chung pointed out that the matter has been referred to the team manager and coach for review, as they are the ones who deal with issues relating to the players and the team.

Jamaica and Aston Villa star Leon Bailey has launched a critical salvo against governing JFF in Youtube rant. (Photos: Observer file)
CHUNG...we want to say that it is quite unfortunate that these comments were made
BY ROBERT BAILEY Staff reporter

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