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Oliver Kahn has regrets for the way Bayern Munich’s annual general meeting unfolded

For Kahn, there were regrets but also lessons learned from this year’s general meeting at the Audi Dome.

FC Bayern Muenchen Annual Meeting Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images

There’s no sugarcoating the way Bayern Munich’s annual general meeting unfolded last month. What’s usually a relatively open forum for discussions on a wide spectrum of topics regarding the club cascaded into a display of firey emotion and discrepancies between the club’s members and board members. The call from club members for Bayern to cancel their contract and relationship with Qatar Airways overshadowed the event, creating more division on the issue with club members feeling that they’ve been vehemently ignored.

Ending the general meeting with a shouting match with chants, jeers and whistles aimed at Bayern’s board members was not the desired conclusion, but that’s exactly what happened. Despite having regrets, Oliver Kahn said that there were still lessons learned from his first general meeting as CEO of Bayern. “Afterwards you are always smarter. Certainly you could have done one thing or the other differently,” he had said in the buildup to Bayern’s 4-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg just before the winter-pause (Abendzeitung).

In retrospect, while Kahn may not have been anticipating the level of hostility that inevitably unfolded inside the Audi Dome, he was able to recognize that all of the writing was on the wall for everything to eventually kick off in the manner that it did. “The omens were not that easy. There were very few members who were ever there at a general meeting. There were a lot of things that had already led to tension beforehand. It can then happen that something like this slips away,” he explained.

From the outside perspective, Kahn was heavily criticized for never once uttering the word ‘Qatar’ during the general meeting, furthering the argument from the club members that they felt Bayern’s board wasn’t proactive enough in engaging in “open dialogue.” Despite this firmly held belief from a large portion of Bayern’s club members, Kahn said that the board has internally reflected upon the issues and is willing to engage in more detailed discussions on the matter. “We knew that there are a lot of fans here who are very, very critical of the issue of Qatar. Of course we sat down and reflected. We will approach them and try to give more information,” he said.

Kahn was also slightly irked that a handful of topics were overlooked and overshadowed by the Qatar question. After such a successful year from a footballing perspective, he was hoping to have spent some more time reflecting on what worked, especially having been able to navigate through what was an incredibly difficult financial period as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. “At the JHV (Jahreshauptversammlung/Annual General Meeting) we looked back on the past two years. Among other things, there was a very, very successful year in which we won six or seven titles. In economic terms, we also managed to get through a difficult time. That all Then it went down under a topic — which rightly interests some of our fans — that was a shame,” he lamented.

FC Bayern Muenchen Annual Meeting Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images