FC Bayern Munich has trouble with its fans. They have been fighting the club’s relations with Qatar for a long time. Escalation threatens at the annual general meeting.
Oliver Kahn and Herbert Hainer were once again shown very clearly in the VIP stands what fans think of Bayern Munich’s connections with Qatar. In the south curve of the arena, a huge banner hung for minutes during the top game against Freiburg. It showed CEO Kahn and President Hainer with bloody shirts and a suitcase in front of a washing machine. In addition the saying: “For money we wash everything clean.”
It is not the first time that Munich supporters are massively opposing the club’s sponsorship deals with the controversial host of the World Cup. At the annual general meeting on November 25th, the German record champions can prepare for lively discussions. Escalation threatens.
Initiator justifies application
Most recently, a request was received from the fans that the club would in future exclude business such as the current sleeve advertising with Qatar Airways, which allegedly brings in 20 million euros per year.
“We want to take preventive measures to prevent a new deal,” said initiator Michael Ott of the “SID”. Qatar stands for massive human rights violations, there are also serious allegations of corruption in sport, it said in a message from the critical supporters.
The Bayern bosses around Kahn and Hainer are in a quandary. Are you reaching for the millions from so-called rogue states like Qatar to keep up with clubs like Manchester City (supported from Abu Dhabi), Paris St. Germain (Qatar) or, more recently, Newcastle United (Saudi Arabia)?
And thus attract the anger of the fans. Or will you forego this financial contribution in the future and thereby win the affection of the fans? Simply put: For Kahn, Hainer and Co. the question is: money or love?
FC Bayern defends Qatar business
The club is trying to “discuss the grievances”, stressed coach Julian Nagelsmann after the 2-1 win against Freiburg. It is the course that Bayern have been sticking to for a long time. Hainer repeatedly points out a “respectful dialogue” with Qatar: “According to the motto: change through rapprochement.”
How the connection to the emirate fits together with a planned modernization of the Bavaria statutes is open. Vice-President Dieter Mayer said that the future text of the articles of association wanted to “clarify even better what values our club stands for”.
Mayer named here tolerance, respect, role model function, cosmopolitanism, social responsibility and “standing up against any form of extremism and discrimination, be it for ethnic reasons, because of gender or sexual orientation”. As a “matter of course”, the club also admitted to “respecting all internationally recognized human rights”.
FC Bayern with training camp in Qatar
However, FC Bayern are still actively helping “to divert attention from the grievances” and “to spread a modern, cosmopolitan image of the country”, say the critical supporters.
Nevertheless, according to the will of the initiators, some of whom are familiar faces in the fan scene, the annual training camp in the Gulf state should remain untouched.
This would offer “at least in theory the opportunity for critical communication – if you actually notice them,” it said. The stars around Manuel Neuer will not travel to the Persian Gulf this winter due to scheduling reasons, but the Bayern women will travel to Qatar.
The emirate, which will host the World Cup in winter 2022, has come under heavy criticism for its human rights situation. The discrimination against women and people in the LGBTQ movement is also repeatedly denounced.