Bayern chief Rummenigge defends club's link to Qatar after fan protests
Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has stood by his club's links to Qatar as the team departs to the Gulf state for a winter training camp for the ninth time in 10 years.
World Cup 2020 hosts Qatar have been criticized for a questionable human rights record, including the country's stance of illegality relating to homosexuality, prompting Bayern fans to display banners during a home game last year asking that the club sever ties with the state.
FIFA's decision to award the World Cup to Qatar has also been a controversial one, with groups such as Amnesty International accusing it of migrant worker abuse.Also on rt.com Migrant workers in Qatar World Cup city ‘owed thousands of dollars in wages’
Sections of Bayern fans lambasted their team for their links to the region, saying that they were valuing "money (over) human rights,""capital over morals" and asked the club's hierarchy to "open your eyes when it comes to sponsor choice."
However, Rummenigge defended his club's actions, saying that their sponsorship deal with Qatar is just one of many such partnerships between German companies and the Qatari government.
"Like other football clubs and sports associations, we are also engaged in a dialogue in the Gulf region," he said to Munich publication Abendzeitung, adding that they have had discussions with their partners in the area "including the issue of human rights and the rights of workers."
"International trade unions and NGOs have agreed that Qatar has responded to public criticism and made changes, including the positive development of the legal status of migrant workers and improvements in Qatar’s labour rights," Rummenigge said.
Bayern have been traveling to Qatar for a winter training camp since 2011, citing the area's ideal conditions as the principal reason.
Since then the club have signed sponsorship deals with Doha airport and, last July, a bumper partnership with Qatar Airways.