Herbert Hainer Diversity Mountain FC Bayern

Herbert Hainer: Inspiration beyond the pitch

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The first shot goes nowhere. The teammates are called upon to help. They shout commands – right, left, now shoot again – then the ball actually flies towards the goal. The shooter takes off his blindfold to see if he has hit the target. At the 'Diversity Mountain' organised by FC Bayern on Saturday, the chance to try your hand at blind football was one of many different highlights for the approximately 800 visitors – and also had a figurative effect: the German record champions wanted to broaden perspectives, bring people together and promote understanding for each other with the event.

Herbert Hainer: A completely new event

The 'Diversity Mountain' was a "completely new event", said Herbert Hainer. "We've never organised something like this as a club and it was a huge success." The FC Bayern president took a look at the event himself, which was held as part of the 'Red against Racism' initiative. "Our club wants to inspire people, not just on the pitch," he added. "We want to contribute to social exchange, and part of that is critical discourse in order to be able to keep developing. It was nice that the 'Diversity Mountain' reached such a broad, diverse audience with many families and children – that's what we want to do as a club. We want to bring people together."

Football, basketball, table tennis, chess, circus acrobatics and skateboarding - the offering at Diversity Mountain was huge.

Football, basketball, table tennis, chess, circus acrobatics and skateboarding – together with partners like buntkicktgut and its partner, FC Bayern provided a varied sporting programme at the Sugar Mountain in the Munich borough of Sendling. The 'Arena of Change', the joint project with SOS Children’s Villages International at the FC Bayern Campus, was also on display at its own stand, as were the FC Bayern Kids Club and members of the Südkurve as well as the Kurt Landauer Foundation. In a fun, child-friendly and diverse way, many facets of the topic of diversity were made tangible for young and old.

Diego Contento
FC Bayern legend Diego Contento was also at 'Diversity Mountain' and had lots of fun playing football with the youngsters.

Hainer also took the opportunity at Diversity Mountain to exchange views with the 'Red Deaf FC Bayern Fan Club' thanks to sign language interpreters. Chairwoman Martina Bechtold and her team explained how they develop signs for players. "They do a great job, with a lot of heart and passion," said Hainer. "FC Bayern is very grateful to them for that." On the subject of football for the blind, the president also sought a conversation with FCB employee Katharina Kühnlein, who set up the offering. She is one of the most successful blind footballers in Germany. Hainer said he had "the greatest respect when you don't give in to your disability. It takes a lot of strength and a lot of courage." Kühnlein agreed: "Sport is the best way to inclusion."

People from all backgrounds have come together here today. FC Bayern wants to build bridges. We have evidently succeeded in doing so with the 'Diversity Mountain'.

Herbert Hainer

Finally, the panel discussion with representatives from the queer fan community, the inclusion area as well as anti-racism work also actively addressed challenges such as the racism incident at the FC Bayern Campus a few years ago or in relation to child protection violations at SOS Children's Villages. "FC Bayern brings its partners on stage and lets them speak, thank you very much for that," said Barbara Gruner, executive director of SOS Children's Villages Worldwide. "We want to work together for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It is striking how diverse the audience is here today – this is how we break down barriers and make it possible for people to approach each other. Everything I've heard and seen here makes me hopeful for the way forward in our organisations." Kim Krämer, FC Bayern's disabled fans officer, concluded: "FC Bayern promotes exchange with events like this. You have to live the topic of diversity, and that's what this club does. My appeal: take this home with you and talk about it!"

Hainer, Krämer
Kim Krämer, FC Bayern's disabled fans officer, in conversation with Herbert Hainer: "FC Bayern promotes exchange with events like this."

It is always about questioning oneself, explained Jennifer Danquah, an educational researcher dedicated to the topic of racism. "Even those who position themselves as anti-racists or anti-racists can act racist," she noted. "Initiatives like 'Red against Racism' can help to change structures, also within an organisation. Sport connects people, but it also reproduces racism – so it was important to point out the challenges that come with diversity during the panel discussion. To put it in sporting terms, we all have to keep exercising our anti-racism muscle – this event has contributed to that today." FC Bayern has "taken a good path," said Thomas Ponetsmüller from the 'QUEERPASS Bayern' fan club. "We feel comfortable in the FC Bayern family, and events like 'Diversity Mountain' show that such topics are not a flash in the pan at the club, but are consistently lived out."

Benny Folkmann, FC Bayern
Benny Folkmann (left), managing director of FC Bayern eV.: "Not just throwing a slogan on the wall once a year on an action day"

With 'Red against Racism', FC Bayern has set itself the goal of "not just throwing a slogan on the wall once a year on an action day", explained Benny Folkmann, managing director of FC Bayern eV. "We are taking the challenging path and want to have an impact, both externally and internally. The initiative grows from the middle of the club and continues to develop. The commitment to diversity is a mammoth task that we can only achieve together. We will keep at it." The Diversity Mountain was "a wonderful reflection of FC Bayern", said Hainer. "People from all backgrounds have come together here today. FC Bayern wants to build bridges. We have evidently succeeded in doing so with the 'Diversity Mountain'."

Ahead of the event, president Herbert Hainer, the FC Bayern fans officer for the disabled, Kim Kramer plus Thomas Ponetsmüller and Marcus Janke from the ‘QUEERPASS Bayern’ fan club spoke about the Diversity Mountain:

📸 Check out the photos from the event here:


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