Leeds owner defends Myanmar tour: 'This is about people not governments'

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While fans expressed concern over aligning the club with Myanmar, the Leeds managing director, Angus Kinnear, defended the decision and said the squad "are very excited for the chance to represent the club in Asia".

The Leeds United tour is being planned in partnership with AYA Bank, a Myanmar financial institution.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all non-essential travel to four separate areas of Myanmar, formerly Burma.

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

'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 'sportswash" the stain of a country's human rights record'.

The owner of Leeds United says the club will press ahead with a tour of Burma but admits that he knew the visit would be controversial.

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.

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English soccer club Leeds has announced a tour to Myanmar.

"Last week we supported (rights group Amnesty International) over refugee contribution to football".

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

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

"But Italian Radrizzani has taken to Leeds" official website to defend the tour in an open letter.

However Kyi has since drawn widespread criticism from around the world for her persecution or as United Nations assistant secretary-general for human rights, Andrew Gilmour calls it, "ethnic cleansing", of Rohingya people.

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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