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28 Jun 2023

AP Television News

FC Bayern Munich not to renew controversial sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways following sustained fan pressure to divest

"Bayern Munich heeds fans' demands, opts to end controversial sponsorship deal with Qatar,"

Bayern Munich and Qatar announced on Wednesday they will not continue their contentious sponsorship agreement, bowing to pressure from the club’s own fans who accused it of “sports washing.”

The deal with Qatar Airways was due to expire on Friday, and any further extension would have infuriated Bayern supporters who have vocally opposed the club’s ties to Qatar since the team began holding annual winter training camps in the oil and gas-rich country in 2011.

“There would have been continued protests and there would have more anger at the club’s AGM,” Alex Salzweger of Bayern fan group Club No. 12 told The Associated Press. “It was clear to the club that the fan-scene was not going to stop demonstrating.”...

Former Bayern chairmen Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Oliver Kahn had defended the agreement as a conduit to instigating positive change in Qatar.

The Persian Gulf country was accused by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and FairSquare Projects of human rights abuses against migrant workers before hosting the World Cup last year.

“There are still workers in Qatar today, stadium construction workers, who are waiting for their money. I think that says everything. Nothing has changed,” Salzweger said...