Activists Call Leeds United's Myanmar Soccer Tour a 'Disgrace'

Leeds United fans celebrate after the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road

Leeds United fans celebrate after the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road

Andrea Radrizzani has been urged by the shadow sports minister, Rosena Allin-Khan, to scrap the "morally corrupt" tour due to "ethnic cleansing" and human rights abuses against the Rohingya people in Burma.

Foreign Office guidance warns against all but essential travel to several parts of Burma but Leeds are to contest friendlies outside the most volatile zones during a commercial tour sponsored by AYA Bank.

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 lovely place filled with incredibly warm and welcoming people.

Leeds will play two friendly matches in the country, against an all-star team from Myanmar's National League on May 9 before they take on the national team two days later. 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.

Leeds United's Tom Pearce celebrates a goal with teammates.

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".

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

More than 70 people were killed in Burma in August a year ago after attacks on the police and military bases.

The criticism comes as the country falls back into worldwide pariah status due to its treatment of the ethnic Rohingya minority in the country's western Rakhine state.

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

Amnesty International issued a statement calling it an "odd choice of country to choose to tour".

"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".

"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.

Myanmar denies accusations its military crackdown constitutes ethnic cleansing. He is also considered to be a close ally of the current regime and Suu Kyi.

Recommended News

  • 'I'm being attacked': Hannity responds to media blitz over his properties

    'I'm being attacked': Hannity responds to media blitz over his properties

    In January 2016, Hannity said there were "millions more Americans suffering under this president" partly because of foreclosures. Among the documents the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized from Cohen were details on the real estate investments.
    Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs

    Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs

    They went 12-0 in the West on the way to winning their second NBA Championship, sweeping the San Antonio Spurs along the way. That question was posed to Golden State's Draymond Green , whose response wasn't quite as good as his facial expressions.
    Salah Voted PFA Player Of The Year, Sane Best Young Player

    Salah Voted PFA Player Of The Year, Sane Best Young Player

    Henderson revealed that although at the beginning of the season the players thought Salah will be a good addition for Liverpool , he still exceeded their expectations.
  • Dez Bryant Turns Down Multi-Year Deal From Ravens

    Dez Bryant Turns Down Multi-Year Deal From Ravens

    Bryant amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving, with double-digit touchdowns, for three straight seasons from 2012 to 2014. Dez Bryant might not be the end of the Dallas Cowboys' cuts at wide receiver, if you believe one national writer's take.
    Rise & Shine: Pueblo teachers in District 60 vote to go on strike

    Rise & Shine: Pueblo teachers in District 60 vote to go on strike

    The bill would allow school districts to seek a court injunction against teacher strikes , according to The Hill . Paul Lundeen said in a statement that he supports better teacher pay, but says strikes aren't productive.
    Iran threatens to resume nuke program if USA  exits nuclear deal

    Iran threatens to resume nuke program if USA exits nuclear deal

    Under the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions. Zarif said many prisoners are being held in the United States and elsewhere at Washington's request.
  • Rivaldo reveals why Neymar must leave PSG

    Rivaldo reveals why Neymar must leave PSG

    He won the UEFA Champions League title with the Catalan club in 2015 along with two Spanish League titles in 2014 and 2015. But I believe that, from what I hear, from people who bring information to me, he has a chance to play for Real Madrid .
    Still a long way to go on North Korea crisis, says Trump

    Still a long way to go on North Korea crisis, says Trump

    Moon must pressure Kim to accept Trump's call for a complete dismantlement of nuclear weapons and pledge to do it within a year. Want to talk about that more now with the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker of Tennessee.
    A joking Charles raises eyebrows at Queen's 92nd birthday party

    A joking Charles raises eyebrows at Queen's 92nd birthday party

    Sting and Shaggy were joined by acts like Kylie Minogue , Shawn Mendes and Sir Tom Jones who were also in the line-up. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles during a visit to the Royal College of Physicians, in London , Feb. 20, 2018.
  • 'I was wrong': Armenia PM quits after mass protests

    'I was wrong': Armenia PM quits after mass protests

    Sargsyan as prime minister; in addition to its economic levers, Russian Federation maintains a military base in the country. On Sunday police had detained three opposition leaders and almost 200 protesters, drawing a rebuke from the European Union.
    Beyoncé again nails her performance at Coachella closing weekend

    Beyoncé again nails her performance at Coachella closing weekend

    This time, however, their mini dance battle ended with a fall, as Bey failed to pick her sister up and they tumbled to the floor. While Beyonce was rehearsing for Coachella , it was reported that actress Sanaa Lathan was the person that bit the singer.
    Cosby arrives at court for 10th day of retrial

    Cosby arrives at court for 10th day of retrial

    Jurors could soon hear Bill Cosby's testimony about giving Quaalude (Mandrax) to women before sex. His current lawyers did not have the opportunity to defend Cosby at that deposition, she said.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.