Published: Thu, April 26, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Leeds United to tour Burma despite military crackdown

Leeds United to tour Burma despite military crackdown

It all comes across as overly altruistic from Radrizzani, but surely simply by co-operating with the Myanmar authorities the club is turning a blind eye to the atrocities that are taking place on the government's watch.

"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 south-east Asia", the Italian said.

Some Leeds players are understood to be wary of travelling to Myanmar and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance is to "check travel advice before travelling".

"The past year has seen the human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorate dramatically", Allen said.

"Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled crimes against humanity in Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh; those who remain continue to live under a system amounting to apartheid".

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".

Leeds United have defended plans for a controversial post-season tour of Myanmar, despite an ongoing military offensive in the country that has been described by the United Nations as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

The Leeds United Supporters Trust says it recognizes the "discontent" amongst fans but insists that the tour is non-political in nature.

But that has not deterred the end-of-season tour by the storied Yorkshire club, who are now mid-table in English football's second tier.

Leeds are due to face a Myanmar National League All-Star team in Yangon, also known as Rangoon, and the country's national team in Mandalay next month.

"They have ambitious goals for grassroots and elite football development that we're delighted to be able to support".

"I also want to be clear that I am active in the Southeast Asia region with ongoing business practices that provide jobs and help to develop the local sports and media sectors".

Amnesty International agrees Leeds' decision to visit is "odd" but has encouraged the club to put pressure on the government to end the conflict.

Since August, more than 647,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar, Inter-Sector Coordination Group reported on December 12.

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