Having just ended one sponsorship deal that brought a huge amount of opposition, Bayern Munich have courted a whole new raft of criticism for their latest partnership deal with ‘Visit Rwanda’. It seems money still talks louder than morals in the corridors of power at the Sabener Straße.
Bayern ended their controversial sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways in May following long running fan pressure, but the new deal announced just recently has brought fresh cries of protest.
The Rekordmeister will have ‘Visit Rwanda’ branding on the LED boards at the Allianz Arena on matchdays as well setting up a football academy in collaboration with the Rwandan Sport’s Ministry to ‘strengthen and develop football’ in the African country.
“I am very pleased with this collaboration agreed upon until the summer of 2028” explained Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen. “FC Bayern can become active on the African continent and gather important experiences. The new platinum partnership is aligned with long-term goals.
“We will promote ‘Visit Rwanda’ and help Rwanda grow in sports with projects for youth football. These are challenging and responsible tasks. Africa is a continent of opportunities. For FC Bayern, this is the next important step in internationalisation.”
The exact monetary benefit to Bayern has not been disclosed, but the previous deal with Qatar’s state airline was said to be worth $100 million. Both Arsenal and Paris St. Germain already have sponsorship deals with Visit Rwanda.
However, a statement released by Human Rights Foundation– a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting and protecting human rights globally- has condemned Bayern’s new deal.
“HRF condemns the sponsorship deal between top German club FC Bayern Munich and Rwanda as a shameful and regressive example of the club lending its prestige to another brutal dictatorship seeking to whitewash its murderous abuses with sports.
“While Bayern’s stated intentions of promoting youth sports and tourism in Rwanda are noble, the club is in league with a corrupt regime responsible for gross human rights violations, wars of invasion and mass atrocities in neighbouring DRC.
“The Bayern Munich/ Visit Rwanda deal is a disappointing and regressive step for the club after it dropped its much criticized business deals with Qatar in June” the statement concluded.
It remains to be seen whether the fans inside the Allianz Arena will react to the new deal and how strong any opposition will be. The club’s next Annual General Meeting is to be held in November and that is where any concrete protest could make itself known.
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