August 28 – In a controversial new sponsorship deal, German giants Bayern Munich have partnered with Visit Rwanda, sparking criticism that the club are being used to bolster the reputation of Rwanda’s political leadership.
The partnership will see the Bundesliga club display ‘Visit Rwanda’ branding on the LED boards on match day at the Allianz Arena and work with Rwanda’s Ministry of Sports to set up a football academy and strengthen the development of football in the country.
There will be different brand activations to promote tourism and investment opportunities in the country.
For Rwanda, the deal sees the expansion of its football sponsorship portfolio, having previously signed deals with among others Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal amid accusations that it’s a way for the Paul Kagame regime to launder its reputation.
For the German record champions, it looks like they have landed themselves in more sponsorship controversy having ended their partnership with Qatar Airways in May following fan pressure.
Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen said: “I am very pleased with this collaboration agreed upon until the summer of 2028. FC Bayern can become active on the African continent and gather important experiences. The new platinum partnership is aligned with long-term goals.
“We will promote ‘Visit Rwanda’ and help Rwanda grow in sports with projects for youth football. These are challenging and responsible tasks. Africa is a continent of opportunities. For FC Bayern, this is the next important step in internationalisation.”
The value of the Visit Rwanda five-year deal was not disclosed. Qatar’s state-backed airline had been a partner of the German giants since 2018 in a deal worth $100 million.
That sponsorship was cancelled after supporters raised concerns over Qatar’s human rights record which came into sharp focus in the years leading up to the Gulf nation’s staging of the 2022 World Cup. Bayern had been actively engaged with Qatar, including staging winter camps at Doha’s Aspire complex, but in the end the club was unable to ignore the pressure from its fan base.
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