Let words be followed by action. And action not just by words.
On August 11 2020, the WDR, a regional public broadcaster in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, aired their regular investigative sports magazine “Sport Inside”, which ran a report that showed all kinds of racism, exclusion, discrimination, and intolerance at the FC Bayern Campus, which is where Bayern’s youth academy is based.
At 7pm on 17 August 2020, FC Bayern published a press release which is short enough for me to quote it in full:
FC Bayern München AG and a youth coach have terminated their employment by mutual consent. This is the first result of an internal investigation currently taking place on the FC Bayern Munich Campus. Irrespective of this, the underlying facts are being investigated further by FC Bayern München AG.FC Bayern Munich press release from 17 August, 2020.
A remarkable statement, since the word “racism” is missing. And thus the core of the accusations that have been making the rounds for a week now.
The name of the coach, who has been involved in FC Bayern’s youth academy for around 17 years, is missing, too. This despite the fact that the name has been publicly known at the latest since a temporary Twitter account publishing the damning material that ultimately set off FC Bayern’s investigation was set up.
In terms of content, it is particularly noteworthy that the “employment relationship was terminated by mutual consent”, and that the coach’s racist statements were not duly followed by an immediate termination without notice.
Let us draw on some legal opinion on this:
If such (racist – the author) statements are directed against colleagues, superiors or customers, or if there is a connection to the employment relationship due to other associated circumstances, the employer can react with a termination without notice on the basis of §626 of the German Civil Code (BGB).Hensche Rechtsanwälte, a law firm specializing in employment law
The racist statements are documented in a 2018 chat history on WhatsApp, the authenticity of which the coach admitted internally.
So why was there not a termination without notice? Did FC Bayern not want to ruin the coach’s career? Even though the name and incidents should be known at every youth academy in Germany? Did they want to show a certain gratitude to the coach for his many years of work? Even though he has harmed FC Bayern MASSIVELY with his behaviour? “by mutual consent” sounds like gentlemen’s agreement, where I find it doubtful whether this youth coach is a gentleman.
I do not get it.
The coach in question had been working in FC Bayern’s youth academy since 2003 (!). So he had been employed at Säbener Straße for 14 years. It does not seem too far fetched to suspect that he has been expressing racist ideas not only since 2018. How can this have remained undetected for such a long time? Why have apparently never other coaches and employees, who must have noticed it, complained about it to the board or the executive committee?
What did Hermann Gerland know – actively involved in FC Bayern’s youth since 2001 and working alongside the youth coach in question for many years and certainly the most important figure in FC Bayern’s youth department with the best connections to Hoeneß & Co.?
And if there were in fact complaints (as documented in some letters from parents):
Why did it not have any consequences for the coach?
I do not get it.
This is about racism, which is bad enough. But according to the Sport Inside report it is also about homophobia, bullying, discrimination of other kinds and sadistically cruel training methods up to physical breakdown. That doesn’t sound like “only the tough get on”. It sounds like assault. And we are talking about children (!) who have been entrusted to the coaches at the Campus, who should get to know, experience and internalize the values of FC Bayern. After all, they are not only trained in sports, but also receive comprehensive educational support for their regular non-sports school work.
This is what Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told TV channel Sky before the CL quarter final against FC Barcelona. The way I know and judge him, these incidents on campus will annoy him terribly. As a club member, you can only be deeply ashamed if the parents’ accusations prove to be true.
I now expect the internal investigations to lead to results that go beyond a soft separation from the main protagonist. The results must also be communicated transparently. This must not remain internal. The employees and members of FC Bayern, the parents of the youth players and the entire public has a right to know what has been going on at the Campus all this time. And what will happen in the future. With which measures FC Bayern intend to prevent racism and discrimination of all kinds from now on.
I also expect that not only internally every stone will be turned over. I also expect that an external, independent mediator/coach/consultant with a valuable outside perspective will take a look at the structures at the Campus. Someone who is not part of the tightly-knit Bayern community and who has not been subject to the “climate of fear” that is also being talked about.
Miasanrot writes about this on August 14, 2020:
The other members of the chat room must also be thoroughly checked. If Red really is against racism, more than just words or a single action must follow. Entire structures must be shaken up.miasanrot.de, 14 August, 2020.
I can only agree with that.
FC Bayern is the shining light in European football this season. Now they have to show credibly that they are also able to shine through their idealistic values.
In word and action.
This article was first published in German on August 18th on texterstexte.com