"Can’t go on like this in the long run" – Qatar dispute: Why the situation at the annual general meeting of FC Bayern escalated because of a rejected application

Oliver Kahn had his first annual general meeting as chairman of the board of FC Bayern. Image: www.imago-images.de / Mladen Lackovic

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26.11.2021, 12:1026.11.2021, 15:30

Boos, whistles and even loud “Hainers out” shouts ensure an unprecedented end to the FC Bayern general meeting. The topic of Qatar divides – especially the record champions. In the end, Honorary President Uli Hoeneß did not even have a say.

He was already at the lectern. But Hoeneß, who had watched the annual general meeting of FC Bayern Munich, which ended in unprecedented chaos, in silence for hours a few seats next to the also persevering coach Julian Nagelsmann, left the podium after a short time – without having said anything. The uprising of a fan opposition with whistles and boos against the Bayern bosses with President Herbert Hainer as the central stimulus figure escalated on the controversial issue of Qatar sponsorship.

“It would be nice if Bayern would pay attention to its fans. Those responsible make it too easy for themselves with the sponsorship by Qatar Airways.”

Wenzel Michalski, Director of Human Rights Watch Germany

Even before the meeting, Alexander Salzweger, spokesman for the superordinate fan association “Club No. 12”, declared that Qatar sponsorship was problematic for many reasons.

“Not only has Qatar bought a World Cup, the state has also shown in recent years that, despite many appeals, there is apparently little will to improve the situation of local workers, but also the human rights situation in particular,” he told the other watson. And further: “The fact that you don’t have a formal contract with the state but with the state-owned airline doesn’t make it any better, of course.”

Fan uprising after an early termination

Loud “Hainer out, Hainer out” shouts echoed through the Audi Dome at midnight because the President abruptly stopped speaking at midnight on Thursday evening after a five-hour meeting.
A slowed-down member promptly stood on a chair and simply gave his speech without a microphone. There were bizarre scenes that took place in the Munich basketball court.

A member of FC Bayern gives his speech spontaneously in the hall.

A member of FC Bayern gives his speech spontaneously in the hall. Image: www.imago-images.de / Frank Hoermann / SVEN SIMON

“We are Bayern – and you are not,” shouted the indignant members – and also: “We are the fans you don’t want.” The disturbed and stunned Hoeneß told the “kicker” when he left the meeting place: “I have to sleep on that first. That was the worst event I have ever seen at FC Bayern.”

Criticism from Human Rights Watch

Wenzel Michalski, director of Human Rights Watch Germany, had also expressed his criticism to watson before the meeting: “It would be nice if Bayern would pay attention to its fans. Those responsible make it too easy for themselves with the sponsorship by Qatar Airways. This is a state company. In this way, the Munich people advertise for the state and ensure that the grievances in the country do not change. “

Basically he thinks it would be good if it were bad for the reputation of the clubs to enter into sponsorship deals with “such countries”. Should that happen, the clubs would then no longer enter into deals with state-owned companies in their own interest, whose home countries disregard human rights, for example.

For a long time, the meeting ran quite harmoniously, even if Corona is currently sporting the record champions in the fourth wave and has been financially burdened since spring 2020. Oliver Kahn gave his first speech as CEO and successor to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. He warned against “unlimited” investor money at some clubs in Europe and spoke of the “most fundamental change” that football is currently experiencing.

At the latest with the agenda item motions, the mood boiled high.
A spontaneous request by member Michael Ott to vote on the termination of the partnership with Qatar Airways after the end of the contract in 2023 was rejected by Vice President Dieter Mayer with reference to a decision made by the Munich district court on the same day.

Motion missed a three-quarters majority

Otts’ request that the club should continue to hold 75 percent of the shares in FC Bayern AG and not be able to sell another five percent also failed to achieve the required three-quarters majority.

Because of the stricter corona rules, only about 800 members were present, apparently many of them hardliners. The plenary presumably did not represent the more than 290,000 members. There is still no decision on the future of Qatar sponsorship, said Hainer. “We will fulfill the contract,” he said about the ongoing business relationship with Qatar’s airline.

“Qatar sponsorship is problematic from our point of view for many reasons.”

Speaker Alexander Salzweger of the fan association “Club Nr. 12”

You have “clear criteria by which we align partnerships,” said Kahn calmly. The CEO promoted dialogue on the human rights issue in the host country of the 2022 World Cup. That is better than excluding and excluding.

Kahn got at least some praise from fans on social media for his first appearance as Rummenigge’s successor. One user praised his empathic and calm manner in comparison to President Hainer and the other board members.

One user found her behavior “arrogant, snotty, outrageous, insolent, condescending.”

Nonetheless, members who were not present were “seldom so proud of the fans / members of FC Bayern”. At the same time, however, one user also stated that he had never been so disappointed with the Presidium.

(With material from dpa)

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