Next Stop………. Burma

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Just when you thought our season couldn’t get much worse, the club decide to announce a pre-season trip to Myanmar (or Burma as it is better known).

Normally you would think there is nothing wrong with that, a little different perhaps but all the clubs (especially the Premier League sides) head abroad for pre-season so why shouldn’t we?

But there is a problem

There is a huge military crackdown going on in the country with the United Nations themselves describing one of the regions in the country as a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing.’

To make matters worse, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised to ‘check travel advice before travelling’ making the trip seem somewhat of an unnecessary trip with some areas of the country deemed as ‘all but essential travel’ areas only.

So why Myanmar?

It turns out that Whites owner Andrea Radrizzani has business interests in the country through his company eleven sports, but, there is another opportunity.

The country is located in South East Asia and has borders with Thailand, Laos, China and India and whilst most top-flight clubs head to the wealthier Asian nations, with a population of over 50 million, Radrizzani is keen to establish Leeds in an emerging and so far, untapped Asian market.

It could prove an inspired choice in years to come but the timing with military tensions seems a little strange.

The Whites are due to play two games in May when the Championship playoffs are taking place, but players set to travel with their nations to Russia for the World Cup such as Pontus Jansson will not be travelling with the team to Asia.

(Myanmar national football team crest)

The first match will take place on the 9th of May against a Myanmar National League All-Star team in the city of Yangon located in the South of the country before playing against the Myanmar national team on the 11th May in Mandalay which is situated right in the centre of the nation.

How dangerous is it?

Yangon and Mandalay are areas the Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggest to “check travel advice before travelling.”

However, it is the Northern regions of the nation where the trouble really is and the whites will be steering well clear of those areas.

Also, the nation has expressed its love of English football and Leeds are set to be welcomed with open arms.

The trouble in the North of the country is because 700,000 of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority have fled the country since August as the country’s government does not give the Rohingya citizenship as it sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and militant fighting has broken out.

We can only hope the trip galvanises the squad ahead of next season with only the playoffs set to be deemed an acceptable return.

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