Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has defended the decision by the Bundesliga champions to head to Qatar for a winter training camp.
Rummenigge stressed that Bayern’s trip to Doha, set to be a highly controversial venue for the 2022 World Cup, should not be viewed as a political statement.
The country has come under significant criticism over its treatment of migrant workers employed in building the infrastructure necessary to stage the event.
Speaking to Bild, the two-time European Footballer of the Year pointed out Bayern have travelled to Qatar for a training camp every year since 2011.
“The Aspire Academy is the best training facility in world football,” Rummenigge said.
“Doha offers an ideal climate in January – and there is virtually no time difference.”
The executive added: “A training camp is not a political statement. No-one should mix things that do not belong together.
“They know our beliefs, for example in the question of workers’ rights. But they will only listen to us on the basis of respect and trust. That is why we talk to them and not about them.
“Sport can build bridges and develop partnerships, which is one of its strengths … if there is a chance to change through sport, then it lies in partnerships.”
Bayern’s Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund are planning to spend the league’s winter break training in Dubai.