Wednesday January 26, 2022

Chaos at Bayern AGM as members rebel over Qatari deal

November 27, 2021

BERLIN: Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness said he was “shocked” after the Bundesliga leaders’ Annual General Meeting descended into chaos as supporters rebelled against a Qatari sponsorhip deal.

“This is the worst event I’ve ever seen at FC Bayern. I am ashamed,” fumed Hoeness after Thursday night’s five hour-long AGM turned heated.

Tension has been building between the German giants and a group of Bayern supporters disgruntled about the club’s five-year sponsorship deal with state-owned Qatar Airways, worth around 20 million euros ($22.5 million) per year.

The deal is due to expire in 2023, but some Bayern members are putting pressure on current president Herbert Hainer and CEO Oliver Kahn not to renew it.

The club’s rebels 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, claims Qatari officials have rejected.

At Thursday’s AGM, a large group of around 800 members reacted angrily amid shouts of “Hainer out!” and “We are the fans you don’t want!” after the club had blocked a motion to allow members to vote on the Qatari sponsorship deal.

Earlier Thursday, a regional court in Munich had ruled that Bayern was “not obliged to discuss the further sponsorship by Qatar Airways” and club bosses referred to the legal ruling during the AGM.

Faced with open rebellion among their own members, senior Bayern figures insist there are better ways to influence the situation than not renewing the sponsorship deal.

“I remain firmly convinced that dialogue is the best way to bring people together,” Hainer told the AGM.