Herbert Hainer, Prof. Dr. Dieter Mayer and Walter Mennekes answer members' questions
The executive committee forum at the Allianz Arena is a long-standing tradition – but sadly it's not possible at the moment due to coronavirus. To maintain contact with the supporter base, president Herbert Hainer, Prof. Dr. Dieter Mayer and Walter Mennekes answered the most pressing question from our members in the current as well as the June edition of the club magazine, '51'.
The Q&A with the FC Bayern executive committee1 – Burkhard Jurk, Spremberg (FCB member since 2016): How will FC Bayern and the Bundesliga change after coronavirus, what will stay and what will we have to do without?
Herbert Hainer: "No one can say reliably and accurately at this moment in time how our society, the Bundesliga and lastly FC Bayern will change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But one thing is clear: for some clubs and the Bundesliga as a whole, besides the sporting competition, in the future it will also be about an economically viable concept and therefore about existence. Of course, we all want the ball to be kicked again as quickly as possible – preferably in full stadiums, in front of enthusiastic spectators and fans. But first and foremost it's now about public health, which must come first. That's why, as things stand today, we'll have to put up with games in front of empty stands for now and for some time."
Herbert Hainer: "Firstly I want to emphasise again that we have a very strong team, who are still involved in all three competitions. And I'm very pleased that we've got an excellent head coach in place for the coming years in Hansi Flick and that we've extended the contracts of Thomas Müller until 2023 and Alphonso Davies until 2025. We're also working to extend the existing deals with other key players Manuel Neuer, Thiago and David Alaba. Personally I believe that transfer fees will certainly change, since many clubs – not just in Germany but across Europe – will no longer be in the position to pay that kind of money. And it would be a very good thing if a bit more sense returned to football to rectify the excesses of recent years. Obviously we want to still have a competitive team after the crisis who are challenging for trophies in all domestic and European competitions. That has to be Bayern's aim. We're working hard to do that, and we will." 3 – Jonathan Heistermann, Potsdam (FCB member since 2006): In view of the record number of members, what is the concrete strategy to ensure that members continue to actively participate in the club? Will there be the possibility of a digital general meeting in the future?
Prof. Dr. Dieter Mayer: "Member democracy is a very important point which is particularly close to our hearts. According to the law, a club generally makes its decisions in a general meeting with members physically present. On 25 March this year, the legislature adopted a comprehensive package of measures to mitigate the consequences of the corona pandemic. This includes facilitating the holding of a general meeting within the law on associations. According to these provisions, the board of directors of an association may allow virtual participation of members even without explicit authorisation from the club rules. However, we all hope very much that we can hold this year's annual general meeting in the familiar and beloved setting, because it lives on the enthusiasm of our members, the personal exchange with you and the special atmosphere in the hall."
"Separately to this, the statutes commission appointed by the executive committee in February will consider how, in particular through the use of modern communication media, a more active participation of our numerous members in the life of the club can be ensured. The enormous challenge we have is ultimately the size of our club. The law on associations is not made for clubs with almost 300,000 members. Our club has neither the human nor the financial resources to enable our members to communicate electronically, like the large German corporations do. Furthermore, it is a matter of counteracting the risks of abuse that can arise from the fact that it is not possible to clearly identify the participants of the general meeting. I can assure you, however, that our grand future goal is to improve communication with our club and the participation of our members in the life of the club. The best communication medium for us is our club magazine '51'. In addition, we are in active dialogue with our members via email. We are extremely grateful for every suggestion and idea on your part."4 – Holger Spille, München (FCB member since 1998): Why does FCB not provide personal season tickets as etickets? That shouldn’t be an issue technologically in 2020.
Herbert Hainer: "A project for a 'mobile season' ticket at FC Bayern Munich is already in the pipeline. We're working on being able to offer our fans this additional service. A concrete timeline for the introduction is not yet fixed due to the complexity of mobile season tickets."
Herbert Hainer: "Football is played on a global level nowadays. We therefore have the chance to develop international markets and with that new revenue streams, which at FC Bayern are always invested in the quality of the team. We mustn't forget: the most important task we all have here is putting together a team who play winning, attractive football. That's why internationalisation has taken on such significance for FC Bayern, as it has for every other big club, and along with our target markets of USA and China, we're also increasingly busying ourselves with other countries.
"Specifically on Qatar: in 2016, the FC Bayern Munich AG board agreed a sponsorship with the Qatar Airways Group. At the same time, it was agreed we would lead a discussion about socio-critical topics with our partners in Doha, because we want to play our part in building bridges and transmitting values between the cultures – not in the form of public shaming events, but rather in trustful conversations with our partners. Trust and respect are the foundations for change. Only those who gain trust and respect can change anything. Incidentally, we've been strengthened by representatives of the federal government and civil society, as well as the International Labour Organisation, which was a major critic of Qatar for many years and is now allowed and encouraged to develop modern labour law structures in Doha."
Herbert Hainer: "We set up a commission to investigate the incidents, and they are in contact with the special investigations unit at Mannheim police. The inquiries are not yet concluded there, partly because of the coronavirus crisis. Internally we've already discussed suitable measures and will implement and communicate these once inquiries are finished." 7 – Rupert von Buddenbrock, Plön (FCB member since 2020): As well as football and basketball, handball also enjoys great prominence in Germany and Europe. Why has top-class handball not yet been pursued at Bayern – and is there a chance it will be?
Walter Mennekes: "A number of years ago, the executive committee agreed on a policy not to professionalise any more sports at FC Bayern beyond football and basketball. If we're going to do something, we want to do it right. And it's easy to underplay the amount of human resources and passion required for such a project – especially given that there's always the expectation that the project will pay for itself. It's exactly 10 years ago, after the positive survey of members, that we decided in favour of basketball and we stand by that."
Herbert Hainer: "The Borussia Mönchengladbach fan project did the idea with the cardboard cutouts as a charity campaign, which I found very charming. We're happy to look into it, although it is worth pointing out that there would be considerable requirements from the fire protection authorities here. In terms of the 'canned' fan chants, I'm afraid I have to let you down, Mr Kurz. The DFL's match regulations have laid down precisely what the stadium sound system may be used for before, during and after a match – and during the match, it may only be used for essential match-related information for stadium visitors, such as substitutions." 9 – Christian Raith, Wolnzach (FCB member since 1999): Will our reserve team continue to play at the Grünwalder Stadion next season after the likely promotion of Türkgücü München?
Herbert Hainer: "We expect our reserves to continue playing their home games at the stadium on Grünwalder Straße in the coming season. We've consistently highlighted this expectation in very constructive talks with the City of Munich. If needed, we will fight with all our available resources so that we will continue to play at the Grünwalder Stadion in the future, as we have done for decades."
The FC Bayern first team are currently preparing to return to match action: