Bayern Munich fans call for club to end Qatar Airways sponsorship over human rights violations

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A Bayern shirt is displayed in the cockpit window of a Qatar Airways plane during a preseason tour (Getty)
A Bayern shirt is displayed in the cockpit window of a Qatar Airways plane during a preseason tour (Getty)

Bayern Munich fans have appealed to the club’s hierarchy to end their association with the state of Qatar and to stop “actively helping to distract” from the country’s human rights violations.

Bayern’s official airline partner is Qatar Airways, a company owned by a state which stands accused of a litany of human right abuses including the deaths of several thousand migrant workers brought in mostly from south Asia to build football stadiums ahead of the Fifa 2022 World Cup.

The sponsorship deal will expire at the end of the season and the club are currently considering whether to renew the contract. But in a motion put to the club’s annual general meeting, fans called for an end to the deal.

“This country stands for massive human rights violations and corruption in sport,” the motion said of Qatar. “Instead of bringing about change, FC Bayern is actively helping to distract attention from the abuses by its Qatar sponsorship. To remain silent about the situation in Qatar would mean that FC Bayern is indifferent to it. In doing so, FC Bayern damages its reputation and does not live up to its exemplary function.”

The motion detailed transgressions relating to worker conditions and LGBT+ rights, and called for the club to stand up and be different to others in Europe who are run by states.

“It must be admitted that FC Bayern is not the only football club sponsored by Qatar; our Champions League final opponents last season are even owned by Qatar [Paris Saint-Germain]. Other states with similar human rights records also sponsor numerous football clubs.

“But FC Bayern is not a club like any other. FC Bayern has always been unique and has always been a pioneer, in every respect. We must continue to be so. Let’s not go with the flow, but set a clear example for human rights. This sets us apart once again from the bulk of Europe’s top clubs.

“We are rightly proud of the fact that we have earned our success through hard work. No other top club in Europe can claim that anymore these days! But the Qatar sponsorship brings this achievement into disrepute; we have not worked by fair means here. The money from such a deal is something to be ashamed of. The reputation of our club is being massively damaged. This must be corrected urgently so that we can still be proud of the achievements of our FC Bayern in the future.”

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