Leeds United to tour Myanmar in May

Lynn Cook
April 26, 2018

The Championship side once again invited a deluge of scorn from everybody, including Amnesty International, after they announced they'd be taking their show on the road to play two friendlies in a country now mired in what the United Nations have branded an "ethnic cleansing" campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

The tour is being sponsored by a local bank.

"Do you honestly believe your fans want the club they have supported all their lives to start endorsing a state carrying out such bad atrocities on innocent people?" I sincerely hope you will reconsider your post-season tour'.

In response to the club's Tweet promoting the tour, a Whites fan responded: "I don't think I've ever been this disgusted to be a Leeds supporter".

Myanmar has a troubled history, with claims made of human rights violations and genocide amid political unrest and violence in the country.

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".

Myanmar denies accusations its military crackdown constitutes ethnic cleansing.

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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".

Violent clashes between Myanmar's government troops and militants are on-going in several areas of the country.

"Our message to fans would be "don't go without making an informed decision". More than 700,000 people were then taken to neighbouring country Bangladesh as refugees after the attacks.

"It's not a tour that I would have chosen personally".

Maybe yet another decision Leeds may have to have a rethink about, but it seems that they are set on going there.

Leeds United have come in for heavy criticism after announcing a plan to play two post-season friendlies in crisis-hit Burma next month.

"The Club is not receiving any fee to play".

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Regional MEP Amjad Bashir also spoke out against the planned trip, labelling it "misguided".

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

Kinnear added: "Myanmar is one of the fastest-growing nations in south-east Asia and is passionate about English football".

"This tour gives us an opportunity to meet new fans of football who will hopefully support our journey back to the Premier League in the coming years".

During the tour Leeds players and coaches will also run football sessions with local children and visit cultural sites, including Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.

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

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