MUNICH, September 11- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has labelled recent criticism of Bayern Munich’s transfer policy a form of “racism” in an editorial for the club’s matchday magazine ahead of their Bundesliga clash against Stuttgart on Saturday.
Bayern’s signing of Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid last month failed to impress the German media, who criticised the club for slowly turning into an “FC Bayern Espanol.”
Some 10 Spaniards, including players and staff, are currently employed by the German champions.
Bayern president Karl Hopfner told kicker he is tired of the criticism and said that such talk is “nonsense.”
And in the club’s latest matchday magazine for the upcoming Stuttgart game, CEO Rummenigge has also hit out at the detractors.
“This shabby campaign is in conflict with values such as respect, tolerance and diversity, which are socially consented to in Germany. The DFB [German Football Association], UEFA, and FIFA have committed themselves for the fight against xenophobia and racism for years,” he wrote.
Rummenigge cited the “charter of diversity,” recently signed by German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, which binds 1,850 public institutions and companies to offer a working surrounding free of prejudice, regardless of sex, nationality, ethnical background, religion, age, sexual orientation and identity.
“We all want an open-minded, colourful and diverse Germany. But at some desks this insight has seemingly not arrived yet — diversity ends at the sidelines of a football pitch there. Instead they continue to wave the national flag,” Rummenigge added.
“And after the World Cup win some appear to understand Germany as the centre of football again, which does not need influences from the outside. We have to put a stop to such dim and provincial thinking.”
“The quality of a player matters for FC Bayern, not the nationality,” he wrote. “FC Bayern are proud of their World Cup winners, but also proud of all foreign players. We strongly distance ourselves from racism, and demand and promote respect. I show the red card to all xenophobic and racism-associated problems.”