FC Bayern Munich and Qatar Airways have mutually agreed to end a multi-million Euro sponsorship deal at the end of this month, the two sides announced in a joint statement on Wednesday. The decision follows fan protests over alleged Qatari human rights abuses.
As part of the deal, Bayern Munich players had worn the Qatar Airways logo on their shirt sleeves and had taken part in winter training camps in Doha. The Bundesliga club agreed to a sponsorship deal with the airline in 2018, much to the displeasure of some fans.
The deal was said to be worth around €20 million per year over the course of the five-year arrangement.
“The contract between FC Bayern and Qatar Airways ends by mutual agreement on 30 June 2023 after five very exciting years together,” the two sides said in a statement.
Addressing fan criticism of the deal, the statement continued: “Both partners have actively promoted an exchange between cultures. It has always been the goal of FC Bayern and Qatar Airways to connect people through football, including women’s football. Trusting, open exchanges have created friendships that will continue.”
Bayern Munich fans had protested the sponsorship deal over alleged human rights abuses in Qatar, especially in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch said Qatari authorities had so far “failed to provide compensation for widespread abuses, including wage theft and unexplained deaths of migrant workers who prepared and delivered the tournament”.
In the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup last year, German flag carrier Lufthansa flew the German soccer team to Doha in an LGBTQIA+ themed aircraft with the words ‘Diversity Wins’ adorned in bold letters across its fuselage.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline “wish the team all the best for the future.”
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways managed to outbid Emirates for the rights to become the official airline sponsor of Formula 1 for the next five years.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.