German champions Bayern Munich will no longer wear the logo of Qatar Airways on their sleeve, or anywhere else, after announcing an end to a controversial commercial deal on Wednesday.
“The contract between FC Bayern and Qatar Airways ends by mutual agreement on 30 June 2023 after five very exciting years together,” the club confirmed in a statement that went on to say:
“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.”
Qatar’s position on LGBT rights, dissent and other human rights issues have come increasingly under the spotlight of late, after widespread criticism of the World Cup last year. Meanwhile, the country’s efforts to buy Manchester United and Saudi Arabia’s moves in both football and golf have ensured that sportswashing, particularly from middle eastern countries is increasingly scrutinized in sections of the media in public.
In Munich, Bayern’s sleeve sponsorship deal and other business partnerships with Qatar has attracted sustained criticism from supporters, who have protested against the relationship with banners at matches and motions and speeches at annual general meetings.