Bayern Munich supporters have called for the German soccer giants to not renew their sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, the national carrier, when it expires at the end of the season due to the country’s human rights issues.
Michael Ott, a club member, initiated a motion ahead of the team’s upcoming annual general assembly on 25 November to instruct Bayern to cut ties with the airline.
Qatar Airways, which presently serves as Bayern's official airline partner and sleeve sponsor in league matches, is owned by the Middle East country's government, which has been accused of human rights breaches, including in its preparations for hosting the 2022 World Cup.
The deal between the two parties runs to the end of the 2022-23 campaign, and, at Bayern's general meeting next month, a supporters' group intends to plead for the sponsorship to be ended as soon as possible.
In the motion, Ott wrote: “We want to oblige our association not to continue the sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, as it is incompatible with the values of our association. We call on all members to deal with the issue and to make use of their voting rights!"
"Qatar Airways is 100 per cent owned by the Emirate of Qatar. This country stands for massive human rights violations, there are also serious allegations of corruption in sport. Instead of bringing about changes, FC Bayern is actively helping the Emirate of Qatar by sponsoring it to distract attention from the grievances.
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"If FC Bayern remain silent on the situation in Qatar, our club is expressing its indifference. With this, FC Bayern is damaging its reputation and not living up to its role model."
The Bundesliga’s 50+1 rule, which is designed to ensure every club remains majority owned by supporters, means fans are able to rule on such matters.
In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Ott states that the supporters’ group wants to take “preventative measures to prevent a new contract” between the Bundesliga champions and Qatar Airways.
The airline has had a sponsorship deal with the German giants since the 2016-17 season.