Leeds urged to help Rohingya during 'odd' Myanmar tour

26 April, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Cecil Davis
  • Plans are in place for Paul Heckingbottom's Leeds to spend a week in Myanmar next month

Radrizzani revealed there were no financial incentives for the club directly, adding: 'The club is not receiving any fee to play.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all non-essential travel to four separate areas of Myanmar, formerly Burma. 'The a year ago has seen the human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorate dramatically.

"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".

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

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

The owner of Leeds United has defended the club's highly controversial decision to play two post-season friendlies in Myanmar, a country accused of ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses against its Muslim Rohingya minority.

The UN claimed last month that "ethnic cleansing" is rife in the country, with coordinated attacks on Muslims.

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Former English champions Leeds are scheduled to play the Burma national team on May 9 and will take on the National League's all-stars in a second friendly two days later.

"Football is extremely popular in Myanmar and I believe the game we all love has the power to help developing nations by bringing people together, especially young people".

Leeds staff and players will also conduct a series of football clinics with Myanmar Football Federation academies in Yangon and Mandalay as well as visiting cultural sites including Shwedagon and Maha Myat Muni Pagodas, the club said in a statement.

"Myanmar is one of the fastest growing nations in southeast Asia and is passionate about English football", managing director Angus Kinnear said in a statement published on the club website on Tuesday.

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

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

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