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Local MPs urge Leeds United to cancel Myanmar tour

By Greg Heffer, Political Reporter
The owner of Leeds United has been urged by all five MPs representing the city to cancel the club's controversial tour to Myanmar.
The politicians wrote to Andrea Radrizzani, the Italian businessman who completed his takeover of the Yorkshire side last year, to express their concerns about what they branded a"deeply inappropriate" trip.Earlier this week, Leeds United revealed they will be playing two friendly games in Myanmar next month - one against the national side and another against an "all-star" team - following the end of their domestic season.The announcement prompted a wave of criticism, with the club accused of "assisting a brutal regime" and Amnesty International warning the trip could be used to "sportswash" the country's human rights record.
Local MPs urge Leeds United to cancel Myanmar tour

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Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been condemned across the world following violence in its Rakhine state, where the United Nations fears a "textbook example" of ethnic cleansing has been carried out by the military against Rohingya Muslims.Leeds United supporters branded the tour "a strange and controversial choice" and also raised fears over fans' safety, with the Foreign Office currently advising against all but essential travel to some parts of Myanmar.Mr Radrizzani subsequently penned an open letter in defence of the planned trip, insisting "we can't spread our values by turning our backs, we can only do this by engaging".
If Leeds United play in Myanmar, they will effectively be endorsing the actions of a Government that has forced almost 700,000 people to flee its brutal regime of terror and violence. @LUFC has a moral responsibility and should cancel plans to tour Myanmar. pic.twitter.com/yIPBgLCS5U— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) April 27, 2018
But, the MPs have kept up the pressure on Mr Radrizzani to rethink the tour.In a letter, Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, Hilary Benn (Leeds Central), Richard Burgon (Leeds East), Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East) and Alex Sobel (Leeds North West), called on Mr Radrizzani to "think about the representations we are making and reconsider the decision for Leeds United to play in Myanmar".They wrote: "Although we know this is not the club's intention, we do not wish our city's football club to be seen by others as in any way helping to promote a country whose government has been responsible for such horrific crimes against people it has persecuted for decades.
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"We are aware that some have raised a comparison with the World Cup in Russia but we feel that the difference here is that the teams competing there this summer did not choose the venue."Fellow Labour MP John Mann, a Leeds United supporter, has already told the club they should be "sorting out new signings rather than flying to conflict zones and assisting a brutal regime."
news.sky.com
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