Jochen Sauer, the director of Bayern Munich’s youth development center, the FC Bayern Campus, discussed the racism scandal that has been slowly burning in the background of events of the past few months in a new interview with local paper TZ.
News of the scandal broke in August, as screen shots of WhatsApp chats showed a member of the youth coaching staff using racist language to describe children. The coach in question was terminated within a week.
“It was a shock for everyone,” Sauer told TZ. We had no idea that — in one division of our campus — racist statements had been made. It was immediately clear to us that we had to immediately investigate and clarify these allegations.
Bayern Munich’s chief legal officer, Michael Gerlinger, took on the case and found “labor violations.” Seitz said that a review of thousands of chats had produced “about a dozen with racist content.”
Club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had promised consequences early in the process, and indeed the youth coach in question and two further employees at the Campus were dismissed. Sauer said, “FC Bayern investigated three employees of the U9 to U15 teams for labor violations. There were racist statements in the chat group, no question about it. And they hurt us, because it also violated the values and attitude of FC Bayern.”
Sauer added, however, that although the racist chat messages proved to be true, the allegations raised in anonymous letters supposedly sent by parents were “proven false.” The letters had alleged that the coach had bullied players and used cruel training methods as punishments. In contrast, the the coach had in fact been “successful” and was “popular with many parents and players,” Sauer said, after the club conducted a survey in light of the claims.
Sauer stated that the club had taken measures to prevent such incidents from recurring. We covered the reforms at the FC Bayern Campus at BFW shortly after they were introduced, in October:
“From the start, there was a close-knit net of prevention and education on the Campus, but it previously was focused largely on the players,” Sauer said. Going forward, “We want to expand our values instruction with even greater focus on coaches, staff, employees,” Sauer said.
The disgraced coach had filed charges against Bayern Munich, alleging that he was pressured to dissolve his contract with the club or he would be summarily fired and his identity revealed. A trial had been set for January 2021, but the coach in question subsequently withdrew his lawsuit.