FC Bayern Munich Ends Sponsorship Deal with Qatar Airways

German football club, FC Bayern Munich, has chosen to end its sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, reportedly due to concerns over human rights standards. The Gulf Carrier had sponsored the Bundesliga’s most decorated football club for the past five years.

Dissolving Partnership Between FC Bayern Munich and Qatar Airways

FC Bayern Munich
Photo via Brand Equity

Popularly known as Bayern, FC Bayern Munich has garnered 32 titles since the Bundesliga’s inception in 1962, and currently holds an impressive 11-year winning streak. Among the major European football leagues – England, Spain, Italy, France, Germany – Bayern has the most consecutive league titles.

Qatar Airways became a shirt sponsor for the German team five years ago, displaying its logo on the sleeve of the kits in a deal worth approximately $21.8 million annually. With the sponsorship deal set to expire tomorrow, both parties have mutually decided not to renew it. This decision follows a contentious 2021 annual general meeting (AGM), where fans and the board clashed over the partnership.

At the AGM, nearly 80% of the club’s members voted for aligning the club with ‘internationally acknowledged human rights’ standards,’ implying a call to sever ties with the Qatari carrier. This wish was ignored by the club’s board, triggering significant backlash. While neither party has stated why the deal was not renewed, the majority ownership of German football clubs by club members (holding a minimum of 50% + 1 voting rights) suggests that the pressure from 2021 likely continued into this year.

“FC Bayern and Qatar Airways have worked together successfully and learned from each other. I would like to thank Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, for this. We wish all employees of Qatar Airways all the best for the future,” commented Christian Dreesen, Chairman of the Board, FC Bayern Munich.

Akbar Al Baker added, “Qatar Airways and FC Bayern Munich have had a fruitful partnership of years. FC Bayern is a great football club whose games we have followed with joy and passion. We wish the team all the best for the future.”

Qatar Airways’ Football Sponsorships

FC Bayern Munich
Photo via The Mirror

Qatar Airways is a familiar name in the world of football, having sponsored numerous prominent clubs globally, including FC Barcelona, AS Roma, Boca Juniors, and Paris Saint Germain (PSG). However, in recent years, the number of clubs partnered with the Gulf carrier has dwindled, and PSG remains the only team still sponsored by the airline.

Qatar Airways has also collaborated with major football associations and tournaments, most notably, the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar. The airline inked a deal with FIFA in 2017, making it an Official Partner and Official Airline of the football association, thus sponsoring two editions of the World Cup, one edition of the Women’s World Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup (held annually), and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017.

FC Bayern Munich
Photo by: Qatar Airways

Despite a recent decrease in football sponsorships, backed by its wealth, the Qatar Airways brand is likely to feature on new teams in the near future.

Read also: Qatar Airways Slashes Award Ticket Prices for Partner Airlines – Big Win for Avios Users!

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