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Herbert Hainer comments on Qatar, reflects on his two years as Bayern Munich president thus far

It’s been a busy, hectic two years for Hainer since taking over as Bayern’s president.

FC Bayern München v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

It’s now been just over two years since Herbert Hainer has been Bayern Munich president, taking over for Uli Hoeness. A lot has happened since then both on-and-off the pitch, and his tenure has had its fair share of highs-and-lows.

The coronavirus pandemic showed up about four months after he took charge and, like most football clubs and sports teams around the globe, Bayern suffered a great deal of financial losses. On the other end of the spectrum, Bayern completed another historic treble in the 2019/20 season under Hansi Flick, who had replaced Niko Kovac shortly after Hainer became president.

Bayern is gearing up for their annual general assembly, during which a number of topics will be discussed as well as outlining future plans for not only just the football club, but the Bayern brand as a whole. Looking back on his first two years of service at Bayern, Hainer said that Bayern will continuously be finding ways to innovate in the wake of the pandemic. “These two years were of course largely shaped by Corona. Unfortunately, the pandemic will keep society as a whole and FC Bayern busy for even longer,” he said. He feels the club has come through the past year and a half quite well “despite all these enormously unpredictable challenges.” (Abendzeitung).

Bayern has also recently been challenged on their relationship with Qatar and, more specifically, Qatar Airways. There’s always been an outcry from supporters to either end, or at the very least, re-evaluate the relationship with Qatar on the grounds of human rights violations and social policies that greatly differ with those practiced by Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich member and lawyer-in-training Michael Ott recently drafted a motion for the club to let their upcoming expiring contract with Qatar Airways to lapse and to avoid entering any like agreements with companies majority owned by the Emirate of Qatar. Ott has also accused Bayern of using “delaying tactics” to avoid addressing the issue head on.

“This is certainly a complex topic that will be discussed more intensely in the run-up to the annual general meeting. In general, it can be said that we do not close ourselves to an exchange of facts and factual arguments — and that can of course be critical,” Hainer diplomatically said on the Qatar issues. “However, it is important to us that the form is always maintained. As a club, we generally tolerate controversies, they are part of a discourse as generally to club life,” he continued.

Qatar will certainly be a serious topic of discussion at the general assembly, which has been known in the past to cause heated debates between Bayern’s members and board members. Since Oliver Kahn has taken over as club CEO, he’s made a point to ensure all of Bayern’s staff members have a say in matters and has launched an initiative called “FC Bayern Ahead,” which was designed to help develop strategies for the future of the club and better the fan experience in conjunction with Bayern’s supervisory board. It’s what he referred to as a “holistic club strategy that reduces complexity and provides direction.” Listening to fans and members’ voices on the Qatar issue would certainly fall under that umbrella.