Leeds United Supporters Trust welcome reassurances over 'strange' Myanmar tour

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The Leeds United Supporters Trust have 'welcomed' reassurances from the club over supporter safety following the decision to carry out a "strange and controversial" post-season tour of Myanmar.

The Whites will embark on two post-season friendlies in south-east Asia, formerly known as Burma, and will play against the national side and a select XI from the country's main domestic competition, the Myanmar National League.

Elland Road.

Elland Road.

The Trust says fans have raised 'understandable concerns' over safety and political unrest since the tour was announced.

A statement issued by the Trust said: "The Trust recognises the discontent among Leeds fans following the club’s decision to play in Myanmar.

"In light of the current Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance to avoid all but essential travel to certain areas, fans have raised understandable concerns regarding safety of those choosing to travel to support the team as well as ethical questions regarding a decision to visit a country with significant political unrest.

"We have asked the club regarding this and a club spokesperson has offered the following comment to our questions..."

The Trust then shared the statement sent to them by Leeds United, which read:

“The two venues that we are visiting are both considered ‘Safe’ to travel to and located in regions not affected by any political turmoil.

"These areas are described as ‘Westernised’ and located far from the Northern areas affected by the unrest reported widely in the global media.

"The stadiums meet approved FIFA standards including high specification medical facilities and the required transport to hospital for any injured player.

"In regards to the political viewpoint, Leeds United are not touring as guests of the government of Myanmar and this is not a political tour.

"The club and the teams we are playing against are partnered with a local bank and of course the local football authorities, which under FIFA regulations must operate independently from the government.

"We see this as an opportunity for Leeds United to be pioneers and break down barriers and build relationships with the people and business community within a country trying to emerge from a difficult past.

"We believe that this represents a chance for those travelling to experience a new country and engage with its people. The club believes there is minimal risk involved in making this journey”

A spokesman for The Trust added: "The Trust Welcomes the reassurances from the club on supporter safety and hopes that they will provide close support to all fans who choose to make the journey.

"The Trust however sees this tour as a strange and controversial choice, given the dangerous political climate Myanmar currently finds itself in."

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 have worked with the Football League in Myanmar as well as the AYA Bank in making the arrangements for the games.

"We firmly believe that football brings people together and we aim to engage millions of young football supporters and thousands of players who share a love of the game."