Herbert Hainer president of FC Bayern

Herbert Hainer: Return of fans was the most important thing

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For FC Bayern, too, an eventful and once again extremely successful year is drawing to a close. In the second part of our big end-of-year interview, president Herbert Hainer reflects on matters such as the club's social commitment, the continued development of the basketball section and the return of spectators to the Allianz Arena.

The interview with Herbert Hainer - Part 2

Help for refugees, firm stands against racism and discrimination – FC Bayern has again proven its social commitment over the past year. What should the club stand for under your leadership?

“That the sport and our financial stability are certainly the basis for everything here – but that FC Bayern is much more than just its success. We want to reach people on and off the pitch and set standards. We succeeded in that once again in 2022: I'm thinking, for example, of the findings of the independent study into FC Bayern during the Nazi period that we commissioned, or of our ‘Reds Against Racism’ campaign weekend, the presentation of our touring exhibition on the Nazi period at the Capitol in Washington, the contemporary witness talk with Holocaust survivor Abba Naor at the FC Bayern Campus, or the 100 or so Bayern fans who cycled in memory of the victims of the Munich Olympics massacre 50 years ago.”

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FC Bayern Women set a new attendance record in the UWCL home match against Barcelona and produced thrilling football against the Catalans. Does this show that FC Bayern have also established themselves among Europe’s elite in women’s football?

“We’ve been steadily getting closer to this objective for many years, and the 3-1 win against Barcelona in front of a record crowd for German women's football at our Allianz Arena was certainly the next milestone. The crowd, which would certainly have been even bigger if the kick-off hadn't been at 9pm, shows that women's football has reached a new dimension. Now we are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League again and know that we can beat anyone.”

How significant was it for FC Bayern in general that spectators finally returned to the stadiums again after a long wait?

“The return of fans was certainly the most important thing that happened in the whole of sport in 2022. It was a turning point and also went beyond sport: it said we’re living and experiencing things together again, in everyday life as well as at matches. I get the feeling that the pandemic still scares people, and on top of that there are current concerns like the war in Ukraine, the climate, the energy crisis. Shared experiences can give a lot of people a certain stability. Sport unites, not least through the emotions that you go through together in the stands.”

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How is FC Bayern following the debate around equal pay in women’s football?

“I speak about it often with Karin Danner and Bianca Rech from our sporting management. It’s quite clear that we must first be talking about equal play rather than equal pay in club football – our women say that themselves. It’s about creating structures in German women’s football in order to establish a professional, top-level competition. That’s to do with factors such as training opportunities, medical care at clubs or equal competitive conditions within the league. The DFB and all clubs are responsible here. Everything must grow in a healthy and sensible way, it can only ever be step by step.”

How do you view the development of FC Bayern Basketball? 

“Here too we’ve been making good progress for years towards establishing ourselves among Europe’s elite. For example, we’ve reached the playoffs of the EuroLeague twice in a row and want to maintain that this season, although we’ve had a lot of injuries and absences so far. Our stated aim for 2023 is bringing the German championship back to Munich as well as winning the cup. We certainly have the quality.”

Herbert Hainer, President FC Bayern, Basketball
Loyal supporter: Herbert Hainer supports the FC Bayern basketballers at almost every home game at Munich’s Audi Dome.

The FC Bayern basketballers will be getting a new home in the not-too-distant future. Is that the first step to establishing yourselves in the European elite in the long term?

“That’s the future. Our managing director Marko Pešić has laid out the overarching aim of Munich becoming the basketball capital of Europe. The SAP Garden should be one of the most modern sports arenas in the world and will give us completely new opportunities. It will be attractive to top players, for our fans and new partners. Munich can look forward to a new landmark.”

What’s your wish 2023? 

“Good health for our players, our fans, for everyone. And then I’m back to the catchword ‘hope’. Peace is the basis for everything. I very much hope that the world comes to its senses.”

In the first part of the interview, Hainer spoke about the 10th German championship in a row, the current campaign and the thoroughly successful year for women’s football:


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