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27th Nov 2021

Bayern AGM thrown into chaos as fans demand action over Qatar deal

Daniel Brown

A number of Bayern fans believe the partnership with Qatar Airways is damaging the club’s reputation

Bayern Munich’s annual general meeting ended in chaos as supporters in attendance began to boo and shout at the club’s directors for refusing to discuss its sponsorship arrangements with Qatar.

Tempers began to fray when club member Michael Ott attempted to lodge a motion calling for a vote on Bayern’s controversial sponsorship agreements with Qatar – which was unsuccessful.

Along with a host of other Bayern fans, Ott believes that the partnership with Qatar Airways is damaging the club’s reputation, due to alleged human rights abuses in Qatar as they prepare to host next year’s World Cup.

His initial attempt was blocked on ‘technical grounds’ because of a club statute by Munich district court, however, he then planned to put it forward regardless, with the support of more than 75% of the members in attendance at the AGM.

Despite this, Bayern vice president Dieter Meyer disagreed – which led to vocal opposition from the fans.

“We are Bayern! You are not!” they chanted at club president Herbert Hainer, chief executive Oliver Kahn and other presidium members on Thursday. “We are the fans that you don’t want!”

Meyer replied: “You’re welcome to boo. I’m not going to allow us vote on illegal motions here,” referring to the local court’s previous decision.

Ott insisted that the Bayern club officials should have allowed the members to discuss the merits of the motion “and then maybe just do a non-binding survey.”

“Whether it was legally OK or not to refuse the vote on this motion, it would have been a question of good character to at least allow me to hold my speech that I had prepared,” Ott told The Associated Press on Friday.

When Meyer stated that Ott was ‘welcome to go back to court to fight his case’, a chorus of boos and whistles followed.

Earlier this month, Bayern fans displayed a large banner criticising the club for the “sports washing” of human rights abuses in Qatar through its partnership with Qatar Airways.
It depicted Kahn and Hainer laundering blood-stained clothes in a washing machine under the words, “For money, we’ll wash anything clean.”

As a result of the current coronavirus restrictions in Bavaria, only 780 members from a possible 1,700 attended the club’s AGM.

The fans that did manage to attend reacted angrily when Hainer ended the meeting early, despite other members waiting their turn to speak.

One member then stood on a chair and spoke without a microphone, while most fans proceeded to react with shouts of “Hainer out! Hainer out!” as per News agency dpa.

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