Hainer: ‘A club offers a home and togetherness’
2020 has been a challenging year for FC Bayern with the coronavirus pandemic, but the club has overcome everything to win the second treble in its history. It means the bar for the coming months is high. Going into 2021, leading figures at Germany’s record champions spoke to club magazine “51” about what’s to come. In the second of seven parts, we sat down with club president Herbert Hainer.
Interview with Herbert Hainer
Herr Hainer, FC Bayern’s social significance was a big topic in 2020, for example with the pandemic or also the campaign “Reds against Racism”. What will it be like in 2021?
Hainer: “As a club, we will continue to be aware of our function as a role model and our social obligation. And we will live up to it just as we have in the past. I think our fans can be proud of their club, and not least the players who have once again made an exemplary contribution to society in 2020. Whether it was with regard to coronavirus or taking a stand against racism, the image that FC Bayern portrayed is something to be proud of.”
Why is FC Bayern so concerned about communicating its social values?
“Because it’s a basic principle of a football club to take care of people. A club offers a home and togetherness, and FC Bayern is proud that its fans across the world see themselves as one big family. I also think it’s fundamental to never lose sight of those who are not doing so well. Uli Hoeneß exemplified that here for many decades, and I am completely in line with that.”
How do you see the role of football in this pandemic?
“I think football has an important role in our society, especially in this crisis, because it brings good things to people in a period full of worry and fear. Football provides togetherness and dialogue, as well as joy. When I look at myself, in times of a lockdown and limited leisure activities, I look forward to seeing football on TV. I’m watching more football than ever. And I enjoy it. I know our players miss having the fans in the stadium, and I think it’s the same the other way around. We’re still all looking forward to when we can experience all those wonderful emotions together in a stadium again.”
How brave do you actually have to be as a company in a crisis like this?
“Every crisis is an opportunity. We’re still investing during this period when it’s justifiable. The priority at the moment is to protect the health of our employees and to consolidate in a crisis that we had no idea about a year ago. FC Bayern has always distinguished itself through economic common sense, and at the same time has always demonstrated the necessary entrepreneurial courage. Fans needn’t worry.”
As well as Hansi Flick’s team, the Bayern basketballers and women footballers are also aiming to reach the top internationally. What’s going to happen here in 2021?
“Both teams can already compete at the top in Europe. We continue to work on squad optimisation and infrastructure to meet the highest standards. In basketball, the goal is to compete in the EuroLeague Playoffs. With the women, we’ve had an outstanding first half of the season and two years ago reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. Wherever FC Bayern competes, the goal is to be number one, including internationally.”
And if you achieve a treble of all three teams reaching their goals, will you cheer or gulp because of the amount of bonuses due?
(laughs) “If we could do that, it’d be the big dream of all of us. We’d then pay out those bonuses with a beaming smile.”
In the first part of our “Big questions” series, we spoke to CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: