Leeds fans FURIOUS as club announce shock pre-season tour to Myanmar

26 April, 2018, 00:42 | Author: Stuart Potter
  • Leeds United announced the tour of the Southeast Asian nation on Tuesday morning

UK Shadow Sports Minister Rosena Allin-Khan condemned the tour in a letter to the club's chairman, Andrea Radrizzani.

Leeds will play an all-star team from Myanmar's National League and then the national team, on a tour sponsored by AYA, a private Myanmar bank implicated in ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.

The United Nations and rights groups say almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since a military operation in Rakhine state began in August. I am aware of the serious issues within the country, but I also know that it is a attractive place filled with incredibly warm and welcoming people.

The team is scheduled to compete against the Myanmar national side and a select league club in two fixtures in May, following the conclusion of the English domestic season. That is why I wanted to take the team on a post-season tour to play matches and run coaching clinics with children from the area. "We will go to Myanmar to share the famous values and ethos of Leeds United Football Club", Radrizzani concluded.

"Scandinavian Leeds United fans ask the club rethink the plan to travel to Myanmar to play two games there in May", LUSCOS said on Facebook.

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

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Rather I see this both as a personal initiative to support local football and a way to introduce the name of Leeds United in the fastest growing country in Southeast Asia'.

Radrizzani also mentions that he is "well aware" on the volatility in the region as he previously spent 10 years living in Asia including several visits to Myanmar, which he found to be a "warm and welcoming" place whilst he established business interests (quelle surprise) in the country.

The decision to tour Myanmar has sparked security and health fears and raised ethical questions.

"It certainly seems like an odd choice of country to choose to tour", said its United Kingdom director Kate Allen.

"The Myanmar authorities have continued the brutal crackdown despite a global outcry".

In the statement, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK is quoted as saying that "far too often sporting events have been used as a cheap PR tool to "sportswash" the stain of a country's human rights record".



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