Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has defended the club's decision to organise a post-season tour to Myanmar.
The club will play two friendly matches, against a Myanmar National League [MNL] All-Star Team and the Myanmar national side, next month in Yangon and Mandalay, in a tour sponsored by AYA Bank.
The planned visit to the politically volatile region has raised concern among supporters, while Amnesty International called on the club to use the trip to raise awareness of the plight of the Rohingya in the northern Rakhine province.
Radrizzani insists the tour is "about people, not governments" and believes local people will benefit from engaging with the club.
In an open letter to fans published on the club's website, he said: "I have spent over 10 years living in Asia and Myanmar is a country I have visited on many occasions. I am aware of the serious issues within the country, but I also know that it is a beautiful place filled with incredibly warm and welcoming people. It is somewhere very close to my heart.
"I also want to be clear that I am active in the Southeast Asia region with ongoing business practices that provide jobs and help to develop the local sports and media sectors. I have similar goals for Myanmar, along with many other British businesses that trade with and operate in the country presently.
"Football is extremely popular in Myanmar and I believe the game we all love has the power to help developing nations by bringing people together, especially young people. That is why I wanted to take the team on a post-season tour to play matches and run coaching clinics with children from the area.
"The club is not receiving any fee to play. Rather I see this both as a personal initiative to support local football and a way to introduce the name of Leeds United in the fastest growing country in Southeast Asia.
"I believe the tour will have a positive impact on the local community in parts of the country we intend to visit. This was a carefully considered decision and we knew it would be controversial, but this is about people not governments.
"It has never been my intention, nor that of the club, to get involved in a political debate in Myanmar. However, if because of the tour we further highlight the ongoing serious issues in certain areas of the country, then maybe that is a positive thing.
"We simply want to use sport to do some good. I am proud to be active in another region in Southeast Asia where I support via Play For Change, a local NGO in Nepal, in providing sports and educational activities to over 4000 underprivileged children.
"We can't spread our values by turning our backs, we can only do this by engaging. We will go to Myanmar to share the famous values and ethos of Leeds United Football Club."
|Erasmus adds five players to Springboks squad|
|Barcelona snub ´hardest decision´ of Griezmann´s career|
|Perez pays tribute to Ronaldo and Zidane|
|Cazorla concedes Arsenal lacked self-belief under Wenger|
|Get King Kong for AJ! Joshua understands critics´ demands|
|Korea change sees Bertens take title in Seoul|
|I love Bilic, but I let him down – Arnautovic|
|He will never fight me! Fury hits out at ´ponderous´ Joshua|
|Azpilicueta convinced Hazard can be ´the best´|
|Wigglesworth´s career in Opta numbers as he breaks Premiership record|
|Ronaldo has nothing to prove, says Allegri|
|Federer shines as Europe hold narrow lead at Laver Cup|
|Astros, Yankees and Indians record dramatic wins|
|Pliskova too strong for Osaka in Tokyo final|
|Kyle Busch comes from behind to win again in Virginia|
|Dybala can play as a striker – Allegri|
|Pochettino never doubts ´special´ Kane|
|NASCAR results at Richmond: Kyle Busch comes from behind to win again in Virginia|
|McIlroy just worried about himself at Tour Championship|
|MLS Review: Atlanta stay clear of Red Bulls|
|Rose reminds everyone Woods has been here before|
|Cronk in doubt for Grand Final due to ´severe´ shoulder injury|
|Timberwolves sign Towns to extension|
|Hearn wants Wilder for Joshua, not ´un-entertaining´ Fury|
|Woods pleased with putting consistency|
|Ballon d´Or not a focus for Asensio|
|Man City star Mendy revels in Joshua triumph|
|Braves clinch first NL East title since 2013|
|I want Wilder, says Joshua|
|Inter must live on the edge to win, says jubilant Spalletti|
|Woods leads by three at Tour Championship|
|Bordeaux end Clermont´s perfect start, Zebo at double in Racing win|
|Lopetegui not worried about Courtois footwork|
|Joshua finds emphatic answer to Povetkin challenge|
|BREAKING NEWS: Brutal Joshua knocks out Povetkin in seventh round|
|Real Madrid can´t win 5-0 every week - Varane|
|Al Ahly 4 Horoya 0 (4-0 agg): Egyptian giants reach CAF Champions League semi-finals|
|Kings upset Warriors, Leinster batter Edinburgh|
|Son committed to Tottenham amid Bayern links|
|Simeone hails Atleti´s best LaLiga display of the season|
|Kovac: Bayern ´dominated´ Schalke in 2-0 win|
|Pochettino unimpressed with Tottenham´s tense finish|
|Campbell gains revenge as Price is halted by injury|
|Tottenham fatigue rumours are a myth, claims Rose|
|Widnes defiant after Super League relegation, Saints outclass Wolves|
|NFL must go back to college to eradicate the tie|
|Real Madrid 1 Espanyol 0: Asensio downs old club to earn narrow win|
|Sampdoria 0 Inter 1: Brozovic wins it late after VAR takes centre stage|
|Rudy takes blame for James goal in Bayern win|
|Tiger charges into four-shot lead|
|Players have given their lives to Burnley - Dyche|
|QPR 0 Norwich City 1: Pukki hits winner as hot streak continues|
|Nuno proud of Wolves character in Man United draw|
|Playing for England my dream, says in-form Maddison|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Tottenham 2: Kane on target as Spurs issue firm response|
|Schalke 0 Bayern Munich 2: James and Lewandowski deliver another win|
|Getafe 0 Atletico Madrid 2: Lemar inspires routine win|
|Championship Review: Monk ruins Leeds´ unbeaten streak, McGinn screamer fails to save Villa|
|Bale benched for Real Madrid-Espanyol|
|Biggar fails to rescue Saints at Bath, Bristol and Wasps win|
|Zaha affected by back injury – Hodgson|
|Mourinho slams Manchester United attitude after Wolves stalemate|
|Herbert holds Portugal Masters advantage|
|Warnock blasts ´elementary´ Cardiff mistakes|
|Shaqiri substitution not easy for Klopp|
|Guardiola hopes for even more to come from Aguero|
|Fellaini accepts United closing gap to Premier League summit will be difficult|
|Klizan to face Thiem in St. Petersburg final, Bachinger shocks Nishikori|
|Klopp: Van Dijk injury not serious|
|Mourinho annoyed by Man Utd´s blunt attack in Wolves draw|