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Bayern Munich confirm Doha Airport sponsorship deal amid Qatar criticism

Bayern Munich held their sixth consecutive winter training camp in Qatar recently.

Bayern Munich confirmed a new sponsorship deal with Doha Airport (HIA) on Wednesday amid recent criticism of the German club's links with Qatar.

The Bundesliga champions and Doha Airport signed the deal with the Qatari airport, Bayern announced on Wednesday. HIA is operated by Qatar Airways, which is fully owned by the Qatari government.

According to a Bild report, Bayern are set to receive "several million euros" from the deal which will allow the airport to feature on advertising boards inside the Allianz Arena.

In January the Bundesliga club held their sixth consecutive winter training camp in Doha, and the club rejected criticism by politicians, media and fans by saying there was "no political statement" in holding a training camp in Qatar.

Bayern had been criticised for "authorising the actions" of the rulers in the Gulf state, which have been under close scrutiny for the human rights situation -- especially that of migrant workers in the country.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called the "partnership an important step" in the club's "internationalisation strategy," and he also addressed the criticism in the official announcement on the club's homepage.

Rummenigge said: "Part of the cooperation is that we will together promote social projects and a dialogue over critical socio-political issues."

Earlier, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Bild of the deal: "From a foreign-policy point of view nothing speaks against it, because Qatar are a big investor in Germany and only business ties between FC Bayern Munich and Qatari companies are affected."

Qatar own 15.6 percent of German car manufacturer Volkswagen, which holds stakes in Bayern through its subsidiary Audi.

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said earlier in January of Bayern's training camps in Qatar: "What we experience in our own countries, what it is like in other places, the most important thing is that you talk about things. You will not be able to change anything by staying at home and not talking about it.

"I think that is the most important thing, and Bayern Munich does that again and again. Qatar is not the topic, but it is many topics that Bayern Munich openly communicated about on critical issues and that is very important."

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