Club Crawl: Bayern Fan Club India
Rohit Rathi, the chairman of the Bayern Fan Club India, was so kind to answer our questionnaire and send us some great pictures of events at his fan club which, even though it’s almost 6000 kilometers away from Allianz Arena, eagerly supports Bayern for every match.
|Distance to Munich||5900 km|
|Social Media||Facebook, Twitter|
Tell us the story of how your fan club was founded and what the fan club means to you and your members.
Bayern Fan club India was founded in 2014. There are a lot of Premier League fan clubs in India, but none from Bundesliga and especially of FC Bayern München. Bayern India – as we call it – proved to be a milestone in bringing Bavarians together throughout India.
Where and how do you watch Bayern games? Do you have special traditions (e.g. chants, food, beer, etc.) that you follow on matchday?
Our fan club organizes screenings in all mayor cities in India like Pune, New Delhi, Ahemdabad. Most often the fan club is supported by their local city chapters. As far as traditions, there is obviously one: beer, beer and more beer!
How often do you or your fan club members come to Munich?
A few of our members have been to Munich in order to watch a live match there. One of the proudest moments for us was when a flag of the Bayern India Fan Club was visibly waved inside the Allianz Arena. We hope that in the near future we can organize a trip with members from the fan club as well.
Which event of your fan club are you most proud of?
This year in February several club officials from Munich visited India for the Bayern Youth Cup along with legendary left-back Bixente Lizarazu. Several Bayern India members got to welcome the Bayern hall of famer and even watched a screening of FC Bayern vs Mainz with the legend himself.
Just recently this December Lothar Matthäus came to India to promote the Bundesliga. While he was here he met members from the Bayern Fan Club India. He greeted members with alacrity and answered all of their questions. We were touched by his humility and down to earth nature, given the legend he is. We discussed topics such as India Football, the Bundesliga, FC Bayern’s current form and some memories from his career too. It was a great day.
What do your family and friends think about you watching all those Bayern games early in the morning or late at night?
Champions League matches start midnight in India, so yeah we all get to hear a lot of things for making those late night disturbances ;). Conducting late night screenings is difficult due to local administration issues but for important matches we try to cover up as much as we can and that’s when we rope in our friends as well for a night out.
How did you become a Bayern supporter in the first place?
It all started in 2002 at the World Cup. Oliver Kahn’s performances impressed me and most of Asia. When he choose India for his farewell match, this was a great gesture for all of us. Apart from Kahn, it was Bastian Schweinsteiger and Bayern’s consistency over the years which did the rest.
What differentiates Bayern from other European clubs in your opinion?
Bayern has a very rich legacy. We have also produced real greats like Gerd Muller. Furthermore we have always been a factory which produces world class products and those are home made! Plus the consistency we have shown in the football world for several years now is remarkable.
How do you stay active in your community?
Apart from match screenings, we also run a “Prediction Contest” every match day and the winner gets merchandise from our Bayern India team. We also post “Fan Stories” of Bayern India members on a weekly to monthly basis on our social media handles. For last years UCL matches against Real Madrid, the Bayern India community shared videos of members wishing Bayern “good luck” for the match and those videos have been shared by Bayern on their social media outlets as well. Our most active medium are our WhatsApp groups which are active 24*7, while other social media handles are also a tool to the members.
Stay tuned for the next segment of our series “Club Crawl” as we make our way around the globe to give Bayern fan clubs a voice.