Rummenigge counters Bayern fan protests over Qatar arguing for inclusion, not exclusion

November 12 – Former Bayern Munich CEO Karl Heinz Rummenigge has defended the club’s dealings with Qatar as fan protests continue.

At the weekend, Bayern supporters unfurled a huge banner at the Allianz Arena with the words ‘We’ll wash anything clean for money’ depicting Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn and club president Herbet Hainer putting blood-stained clothing labelled ‘Qatar’ into a washing machine. Bayern has a kit sleeve sponsorship with state airline Qatar Airways and holds annual winter training camps in Doha.

In reaction, Rummenigge said: ”We at Bayern Munich have made good money from this contract, money which is necessary for us to pay for the players we need to provide quality on the pitch.”

Ever since Qatar was awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010, the gulf state has faced huge criticism over its human rights record and treatment of workers. Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers have lost their lives at construction sites in Qatar.  The country has spent billions in the football industry and critics accuse the Emirate of ‘sports washing’.

“I have often flown to Brussels to speak with NGOs about what else we can do and how they see things,” said Rummenigge. ”They all confirm to me: keep going, don’t let up. Of all the Arab states, you have to say that Qatar has made the biggest improvements.”

It is not the first time that Bayern fans have protested against the club’s links with Qatar. Last month, club member Michael Ott submitted a motion that would force Bayern to allow its sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways to expire. Ott also wants to ensure that the club won’t conclude any further sponsorship deals in the future with companies of which a majority is owned by the Qatari Emirate.

On November 25, the sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways will be on the agenda of the club’s general assembly.

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