Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani: I knew Burma tour would be controversial

by Jared Lewis April 26, 2018, 0:39
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani: I knew Burma tour would be controversial

"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. 'The a year ago has seen the human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorate dramatically.

The Burmese government has been accused of ethnic cleansing by United Nations officials following violence which forced thousands of Rohingya Muslims to leave their homes and flee over the border to neighbouring Bangladesh. The military continues to deny allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing, claiming it is staging a legitimate crackdown against terrorist groups.

"Far too often sporting events have been used as a cheap PR tool to "sportswash" the stain of a country's human rights record".

The reason for Leeds United's tour of the country could be because of the influence of the club's owner, Andrea Radrizzani, on the region.

As you can imagine, the fans of Leeds United are not impressed with this decision and are simply baffled by the announcement.

The club now sits in 12th place in the Championship, England's second-tier league.

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.

Team Managing Director Angus Kinnear responded to the flood of criticism in a statement, "Myanmar is one of the fastest growing nations in Southeast Asia and is passionate about English football".

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

A Leeds spokesman told Press Association Sport that the club is liaising with the Foreign Office and will avoid any areas of conflict.

Leeds, who have advised fans to "wait for further advice" before arranging travel to the country, insist they will address any fears.

Andrea Radrizzani, the Italian businessman who became the full owner of Leeds a year ago, even suggested the tour may be beneficial in raising awareness of what the United Nations has called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

The second-tier side will also conduct football clinics with Myanmar Football Federation academies in Yangon and Mandalay and visit cultural sites including Shwedagon Pagoda and the Maha Myat Muni Pagoda, the Yorkshire club said in a statement.

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