Leeds announce pre-season trip to... er, Myanmar

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani looks on before the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium

Leeds United face backlash from fans after latest announcement regarding pre-season

Well, Leeds have today announced that they are planning a pre-season tour of Myanmar, despite Foreign Office travel warnings being in place for various parts of the country.

Leeds said it will play two matches next month, including one against the Burma national team.

The United Nations and rights groups say a Myanmar military operation in the country's northwest in August has sent almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh.

Mabrur Ahmed - the co-founder of Restless Beings, an worldwide human rights organisation and British charity involved the global Rohingya rights campaign - said the football club's decision to go to Myanmar was a sports whitewash of the atrocities occurring there.

The Rohingya population in the northern Rakhine province have been victims of what the United Nations has described as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

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

Radrizzani has been keen to defend the club playing the friendly matches and insists there is no monetary gain for Leeds from playing the games.

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The Championship side are scheduled to play fixtures on 9 and 11 May in the country, where families have fled their homes because of military operations.

"We're not going to tell Leeds United where they should and shouldn't visit", Allen added.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, was in November formally stripped of an honour granting her the Freedom of Oxford due to her response to the Rohingya crisis.

In a statement sent to the Yorkshire Evening Post, a spokesman for Leeds United added: "Leeds United are not supporting any regime or government".

"We support the local football league and federation on medium, long-term project". "This tour gives us an opportunity to meet new fans who will hopefully support our journey back to the Premier League".

BC-SOC-Leeds-Myanmar Tour, 123Soccer club Leeds to tour Myanmar amid ethnic cleansingEds: APNewsNow.

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".

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