A group of Bayern Munich supporters are pressing the football club to end its controversial Qatari sponsorship deal amid allegations of human rights violations. Bayern has signed a five-year state-owned sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways in 2018, which the German press claims is worth around 20 million euros ($22.5 million) per year for the Bundesliga leaders. Bayern’s famous red shirt has the airline’s logo on its sleeve.
However, a group of fans wants the club’s president Herbert Hainer and CEO Oliver Kahn to break ties if the deal with Qatar expires in 2023. “We will wash anything for money,” was the slogan on a banner that appeared during a recent home game at Bayern, along with a cartoon of Hainer and Kahn giving money to a washing machine. For the club’s annual general meeting on Thursday, disgruntled fans tried to force a motion not to renew the deal.
A regional court in Munich rejected attempts to obtain an interim order, but the group says their fight continues. “We want to take precautionary measures to avoid contract renewals,” said fan group spokesman Michael. “Qatar is guilty of massive human rights violations and there are strong suspicions of corruption in sports. Now we move on to the next round.”
Protesters point to human rights groups accusing Qatar of exploiting foreign workers, especially in the construction of stadiums for the next World Cup, which will begin in November 2022. Qatari officials denied the allegations. Last week, Qatar World Cup executive director Nasser al-Khater insisted that enough credit had not been given to his labor reforms aimed at improving the conditions of migrant workers, especially from South Asia.
“For many years Qatar has been mistreated and analyzed. The criticism is, yes, there is work to be done. There’s still a lot of progress,” Al-Khater told the media, just a year before the start of the tour on November 21, 2022.
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