As a Bayern Munich fan, and unlike fans of the majority of the big European clubs, one can usually put their focus on the events that take place on the pitch, without having to worry about off-pitch issues that might influence the performance of the players on the field. Equally important, this also gives the club a reputation many clubs are not able to boast about.
However, in recent weeks, FC Bayern fans have been witnesses of circumstances to which we aren’t used to. Following the annual general meeting debacle (as reported here), there is another situation that taints the proceedings of the Bavarian club. As reported by Matthias Wolf from WDR Sport Inside magazine, several current and former board members are being investigated by the Main Customs Office on behalf of the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office I. The prosecutors are investigating the youth performance center, the FC Bayern Campus, of withholding and embezzling wages, as well as breaking the minimum-wage law.
The indicted include Oliver Kahn (CEO), Hasan Salihamidzic (CEO Sport), the deputy CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen and the longest-serving member of the board, Andreas Jung. In addition, the club’s former CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, is suspected of having known of illegal wage dumping (i.e. paying an employee in cash, so the money is not subject to the corresponding tax laws).
The accusations on the letter available to Sport Inside allege that agents of Bayern München AG might have “withheld and misappropriated wages” as well as “incorrect keeping of hourly records, failure to grant the minimum wage.” The club is also accused of possibly having made incorrect reports about social security.
How did we come to this?
What caused the investigation were several tips to Sport Inside about the irregularities in Bundesliga youth centers. After the authorities carried out a search warrant and seized numerous documents in Augsburg, FC Bayern was targeted. Many witnesses are being questioned in Bavaria, including current and former coaches. Sport Inside claim some have stated that for many years they worked up to 4 times the permitted ten hours a week; nonetheless, they were paid the “basic” 450 Euros for the same amount of time. Sport Inside say the higher-ups of FC Bayern did not respond to their inquiries.
Regardless of the outcome of the legal proceedings, the Rekordmeister fans will have a thread to pull from during this winter break.