Leeds United's Myanmar tour

Apr 26, 2018, 00:39
Leeds United's Myanmar tour

"Leeds have been urged to cancel their pre-season tour of Myanmar, branded 'morally corrupt" by shadow sports minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan.

A statement from the Leeds United Supporters' Trust said the tour was "a odd and controversial choice, given the risky political climate Myanmar now finds itself in", but welcomed reassurances from the club about the safety of travelling fans.

The United Nations and rights groups say a Myanmar military operation in the country's northwest in August has sent almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. I am aware of the serious issues within the country, but I also know that it is a handsome place filled with incredibly warm and welcoming people.

The two matches will be on 9 and 11 May against a Myanmar National League All-Star team in Yangon, also known as Rangoon, and the country's national team in Mandalay. I sincerely hope you will reconsider your post-season tour'.

Allen continued, "We're not going to tell Leeds United where they should and shouldn't visit".

The second-tier club, a Champions League semifinalist in 2001, says players will take part in coaching clinics for children organized by the Myanmar soccer federation.

Some Leeds fans have voiced their anger on social media, while the Leeds United Supporters Trust said it was "a unusual and controversial choice, given the risky political climate Myanmar now finds itself in".

Kinnear, however, said: "Myanmar is one of the fastest growing nations in South East Asia and is passionate about English football".

The Leeds owner, Andrea Radrizzani, has business interests in sports media firms operating in south-east Asia.

Amnesty International have described the actions against the Rohingya Muslims in the northern state of Rahkine as genocide.

Myanmar is in the eye of a storm of criticism over its treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority, around 700,000 of whom have been driven into Bangladesh since August past year in what the United Nations says amounts to "ethnic cleansing". "But, if the tour does go ahead, the club should use its leverage to call for an end to the crackdown and raise with the Burmese authorities the plight of the hundreds of thousands of families who have been brutalized and forced to flee their homes".

AYA is owned by Zaw Zaw, who has been blacklisted by the United States for his relationship with the former government.

"Last week we supported (rights group Amnesty International) over refugee contribution to football".

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