Bayern Munich fans put pressure on club to end Qatari deal

A group of Bayern Munich fans are putting pressure on the club to end their questionable Qatari sponsorship offer in the middle of claims of human rights abuses.

Bayern signed a five-year sponsorship offer with state-owned Qatar Airways in 2018 which the German media claim deserves around 20 million euros ($22.5 million) annually to the Bundesliga leaders.

The airline company’s logo design is on the sleeve of Bayern’s popular red t-shirts.

Nevertheless a group of fans desires club president Herbert Hainer and CEO Oliver Kahn to cut ties when the Qatari offer ends in 2023.

“We’ll wash anything clean for money,” was the motto on a banner which appeared throughout a current Bayern house video game together with an animation of Hainer and Kahn feeding cash into a cleaning maker.

In the run-up to the club’s yearly basic conference on Thursday, annoyed fans have actually attempted to enforce a movement requiring the non-renewal of the offer.

Efforts to get an interim injunction were turned down by a Munich local court, however the group state their battle goes on.

“We want to obtain preventive measures to avoid a renewal of the contract,” stated Michael Ott, a spokesperson for the group of fans.

“Qatar is guilty of massive human rights violations and there are heavy suspicions of corruption in sport.

“Now we enter into the next round.”

The protestors point to human rights groups, who accuse Qatar of exploiting foreign workers, particularly in the construction of stadiums for the next World Cup, which kicks off in November 2022.

Officials in Qatar reject the claims.

– Training camps –

Last week, Nasser al-Khater, the chief executive of the Qatar World Cup hit back, insisting not enough credit has been given for its labour reforms aimed at improving conditions for migrant workers, mostly from South Asia.

“Qatar has actually been unjustly dealt with and scrutinised for a variety of years,” Khater told media just over a year before the tournament starts on November 21, 2022.

“There is criticism, yes, there is work that requires to be done. There is nevertheless a great deal of development.”

Nevertheless, some Bayern fans are also uncomfortable that the reigning Bundesliga champions held annual winter training camps in Qatar before the Covid-19 pandemic as part of a long-term partnership.

According to German daily Bild, several Bayern stars, including captain Manuel Neuer, have asked club bosses not to renew the Qatar Airways contract.

However, the Bavarian giants have predicted a loss in revenue due to the pandemic of around 150 million euros and giving up a lucrative sponsorship deal would further hurt their finances.

Former club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who negotiated the Qatar Airways deal in 2018, defended his decision three years ago, arguing that he wanted to ensure Bayern had the cash resources to remain competitive in Europe.

“Bayern Munich has actually made great cash from this agreement — cash essential for us to spend for the gamers we require to offer quality on the pitch,” Rummenigge said in a recent podcast.

Faced with open rebellion among their own fans, Bayern bosses insist there are better ways to influence the situation than just cancelling the sponsorship deal or a boycott.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has said the club wants to influence the situation through dialogue and “not through exemption or looking the other method”.

“I believe we have actually currently made a distinction,” he stated.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.