The last few years have seen Bayern Munich fans consistently protest the club’s association with Qatar Airways. The recently concluded campaign also saw the Bavarian faithful protest this deal in home and away games. There was also intense criticism of this deal during one of the previous annual general meetings.
It does look like the protest from fans has fallen on deaf years at Bayern. According to Bild, Die Roten is close to renewing their contract with Qatar Airways. The current contract with Rekordmeister was set to expire this summer. The Bavarian club earns €25million/year as part of this commercial agreement.
Meanwhile, AZ is also reporting that Qatar Airways is eager to extend their contract with Bayern. The Bavarian club is looking to insert agreements that will lead to social projects in Qatar. AZ also reports that a contract extension is looking likely.
While talking to Bild this week, Bayern president Herbert Hainer confirmed talks with Qatar Airways regarding a contract renewal. He insisted that Die Roten will also focus on social aspects during talks with Qatar Airways.
"“We are in talks with Qatar Airways. In addition to the financial and legal aspects, we are also concerned with the social aspects. We’ll talk to Qatar Airways and then we’ll see what happens.”"
Die Roten’s contract renewal with Qatar Airways is going to cause a lot of outrage amongst the match-going fans. Qatar has been under intense scrutiny over the years due to alleged human rights violations in the country. The World Cup 2022 in Qatar was also heavily criticized for the same reasons.
Bayern chiefs, particularly Uli Hoeness, have been very critical of clubs that are being owned by Gulf states. It is quite ironic that Die Roten is also looking to get a stream of revenue from the same states to thrive on the pitch. The current state of affairs around the renewal with Qatar Airways does suggest that fan protests hardly affected Die Roten’s decision-making.
It remains to be seen if Bayern has explored other commercial partners to replace Qatar Airways. They can definitely attract more sponsors due to their positive commercial growth over the past few seasons. It is a travesty that they have to stick with Qatar Airways, which attracts so much criticism from fans.
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Die Roten fans will continue to protest the cooperation with Qatar Airways at Allianz Arena next month. It will be interesting to see how Bayern chiefs do the positive PR while announcing the deal. Nevertheless, any amount of good PR from the club is not going to change the mind of the match-going fans, and they will continue to protest this deal.