This might be the craziest Wikileak we’ve seen yet. The Guardian says Than Shwe, the leader of the junta that rules Myanmar (Burma), considered making a $1 billion bid for top soccer team Manchester United. This around the same time that a hurricane had devastated the country and the junta was blocking aid organisations from getting into the country and helping the country’s dirt-poor populace.Other weird stuff from the US embassy cable that tells this story:
- It was apparently Than Shwe’s grandson who got him into the idea. Kim Jong Un, the son and handpicked successor of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, is reportedly a basketball fan. We’ll go out on a limb and speculate that Than Shwe’s grandson is a soccer fan.
- The money they considered spending on Manchester United is the same amount that aid for the hurricane would have cost, had it been allowed in, according to estimates from international agencies. Priorities.
- After the hurricane, the Burmese junta thought its ticket to getting the people to forget about the disaster (and the fact that they have no freedom under the junta’s rule) was soccer entertainment. Buying Manchester United would have been a way to do that.
- Instead of buying the team, the junta finally decided on creating their own soccer league. Senior business people were brought in and were informed that they were now the owners of new sports teams and would be responsible for paying for them, including the construction of new stadiums.
The dictator finally decided against the deal because he thought it might “look bad.” No kidding.
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