Bayern Munich’s sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways is one of the most protested aspects of the club by a majority of the club’s members and it’s been previously described as a “marriage of inconvenience.” Last year, club member Michael Ott brought forward a motion before Bayern’s annual general assembly to have the club not renew their contract with the airline but Bayern’s executive board ultimately deemed Ott’s proposal to be illegal and opted for an approach that involved “more open dialogue.”
Fast forward to now, and nothing has really happened other than club members being invited to a round table over the summer to discuss the concerns, which are mainly rooted in Qatar Airways having connections to human rights violations. Profits from the sponsorship deal directly enrich the Emirate of Qatar, who directly owns the airline company and has plagued the footballing world with a plethora of corruption through various means. Ott’s motion had even requested that Bayern no longer engage in any sort of business dealings where the Emirate is a majority owner, but nothing has changed as of yet.
Bayern’s contract with Qatar Airways is set to expire next year (2023), and per new information from kicker (via @iMiaSanMia), former Bayern president Uli Hoeneß has unpopularly recommended that the club renew its contract with them. It’s also known by kicker that there have been no negotiations yet between the club and the airline company as of yet.
Honorary president Uli Hoeneß has recommended extending the contract with Qatar Airways. No negotiations took place yet. The deal expires in 2023 [@kicker]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) October 12, 2022
Without directly coming out and saying it in laymen’s terms, it’s clear that Bayern’s front office, executive and supervisory boards don’t want to lose out on the profitability and exposure that the sponsorship yields. At the same time, however, they are routinely and consistently adamant that they will also listen to open dialogue spearheaded by club members, but a resolution really hasn’t been met that pleases all parties.
The Qatar Airways sponsorship was preceded by a “platinum” sponsorship deal with Qatar’s Hamad International airport back in 2016, but the issue at hand has been amplified with Qatar hosting this winter’s World Cup and the amount of money that club’s backed by Qatari companies have spent on transfers — the term “sportswashing” gets thrown around quite a bit in that regard.
For Bayern, Hoeneß’ opinion likely won’t be received well, but he’s only one cog in a larger machine that’s been allowing this sponsorship to continue for as long as it has, dating back to 2017.