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Bayern Munich in spat with China fans over band endorsement

Shanghai (AFP) – Bayern Munich are embroiled in a row with their Chinese fans just days after their Champions League triumph, accusing supporters of “hurling abuse” over a public-relations campaign gone wrong.

In the build-up to Sunday’s final against Paris Saint-Germain, some supporters were riled by the German club’s endeavours to be endorsed by a Chinese boy band called “Teens in Times”.

The club was accused of showing desperation over a series of leaked online messages that sought to make contact with the band to earn its backing.

European football teams aggressively court China’s growing middle class, and Bayern’s profile in the world’s most populous country should have been given a boost by beating PSG 1-0 for a treble of European and domestic titles this season.

But some fans felt Bayern’s social-media effort was demeaning to genuine old-school supporters, and they made their feelings known on the Twitter-like Weibo, where Bayern have 4.2 million followers.

“Have you ever seriously evaluated the risks and consequences of cooperation (with the boy band)?” one fan wrote on Weibo.

“I am writing a letter of complaint to Bayern’s headquarters.”

Bayern, who have an office in Shanghai and say they have 110 million supporters in China, came out fighting in an open letter published on Weibo.

“We really appreciate the fans’ support and understanding but it’s a pity that on the eve of this historical moment of the Champions League final some people made some unpleasant comments on Bayern’s Chinese social media page,” the statement said.

“We came to China to have closer communication with Bayern fans and fan clubs. However, distorting facts and hurling abuse at the club’s official platform should not happen among Bayern’s big family.”

Bayern’s response served only to fuel the anger of some Chinese supporters.

“You have the cheek to blame the fans?” said one typical reply on Weibo that was liked 900 times.

“And you blame the fans for ‘not being grateful’?”

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  1. C. Juice

    September 6, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    As I have known it’s hard to say whether it was the attitude of solely Bayern Chinese Office. As a Chinese ‘old-school’ fan I will still support the club, well, unless they don’t need us anymore. Finally racists go to hell thanks

  2. Isabel

    August 26, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    The wording of this news headline is not quite accurate. It is the Chinese operation of Bayern Munich that ignored the demands of Chinese fans, blame the fans for ‘not being grateful and allowed the fans of the band called “Teens in Times” to pirate Bayern’s elements which any formal authorization, thus causing Chinese Bayern fans’ dissatisfaction and anger.

    • Julian

      August 27, 2020 at 5:34 am


  3. Donald Duck

    August 26, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Getting in bed with China is not good for the world as a whole. Please please please Football do not go the way that the NBA in America has. China might have money but their values are not remotely good.
    To any club your 1st objective should be to keep your long time fans happy not cowtow to the rich Chinese or for that fact any Middle East Rich Country.

    • Ben

      September 7, 2020 at 12:20 am

      Did it ever occur to you that they have fans in those countries too??

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