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Allegations of racism and abuse center on Bayern Munich youth coach

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An explosive report alleges racist behavior by a long-term coach in Bayern Munich’s youth academy. The club counters that earlier allegations are a “private feud” waged by a single individual, but is investigating new material.

FC Bayern Campus Photo by Andreas Gebert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Chat conversations and parents’ letters obtained by the WDR magazine Sport Inside ostensibly indicate that a long-term coach in Bayern Munich’s youth system has used racist language in reference to youth players, implemented cruel punishments on the practice pitch, and pressured parents to collaborate with an allied agent. The club is conducting an investigation but has previously dismissed allegations as “a kind of private feud.”

The materials obtained by Sport Inside consist of WhatsApp chats in which the coach in question supposedly participated and four anonymous letters from parents of children on the coach’s team, dating from September 2018 to October 2019. Sport Inside states that they have spoken with several former and current coaches and with parents, who have confirmed many of the allegations.

Racist chats

The WhatsApp chats were posted on Twitter by a fake account under the accused coach’s name that has since been suspended. We were unable to discover any screenshots of the content or even the name of the person as whom the account was masquerading.

Sport Inside describes the images from the WhatsApp chats as showing a person with the coach’s name making several racist statements about child prospects. In one particular chat, under a photo of a truck with the label “Bimbo” (in German, a racist slur for a Black person), the person in question remarks: “Transport. Here n——— are transported from A to B,” under which several other Bayern coachs or scouts appear to react with smiling emojis.

In other conversations concerning potential signings, the person refers to children with the n-word and or racist German slurs for people of Turkish ancestry. He even tells a colleague in the chat group, “Shut up, camel-driver.” The person remarks about several children from immigrant backgrounds, “I don’t like the last name.”

The chats are two years old and becoming public now after several coaches left the FC Bayern Campus, some of them against their will, according to Sport Inside. Their sources claim that the coach in question is being protected by the Campus leadership and has retaliated against critics.

Anonymous letters ostensibly from parents

The anonymous letters from parents were sent to FC Bayern Campus director Jochen Sauer, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, then club president Uli Hoeness, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, and director of the Campus and assistant coach Hermann Gerland. In addition to allegations of racism and homophobia, the letters accuse the coach having children and young players perform sadistic training drills as punishment.

“Such people should not be allowed to work with children,” they state.

The parents also claimed they felt pressured to sign their children with a particular agent who is a close confidant of the accused coach. Sport Inside had no means of confirming whether the letters in question were in fact authored by several parents.

Bayern’s response: a private feud?

In response to WDR, Sport Inside’s parent company, Bayern Munich confirmed the existence of three letters which they said “obviously stem from one and the same author.” (The report did not add any information about the fourth letter.) The club told WRD that they nonetheless responded at the time by questioning the parents of children on the coach’s team one on one. They club found that the coach was well-regarded by the players’ parents.

All the players in Bayern’s youth teams at the Campus were also asked to give an anonymous evaluation of their coaches. The coach in question received higher than average marks, Bayern said.

“The allegations raised in the anonymous letters could not be confirmed,” Bayern stated and described the letters as “a kind of private feud.”

Sport Inside, in contrast, claims that their own research has unearthed “numerous critics and not merely individuals. Both parents and coaches. Some of them still are members of the coaching staff of the youth academy.”

With respect to the WhatsApp chats that surfaced recently, Bayern gave the following statement: “The content that you brought to our attention are objects of an internal investigation. We will clarify the authenticity and the facts of the case with our competent officials. We ask for your understanding that we cannot make a statement about this matter in public at the present moment.”