Bayern Munich boss fined for not declaring Rolex gifts on Qatar trip

Chairman of European Club Association said gifts were from a friend while on Doha visit

The head of the European Club Association (ECA), a body which represents Europe’s top football clubs, has been fined over a third of a million dollars by tax authorities for failing to declare two Rolex watches worth around £84,000 ($136,000) when he was searched by customs officials after returning from a trip to Doha funded by the FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who played for Germany in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals and is CEO of the Bayern Munich football club, was stopped by German customs officials at Munich airport on February 7, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.

Returning from a visit to Doha to attend the ECA’s annual assembly, which was funded by the Gulf state, he was searched as passed through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel. After a search of his belongs, airport officials uncovered two Rolex watches, estimated to be worth around £84,000.

The 58-year-old ECA chairman claimed they were a gift from an unnamed friend and he did not realise he had to declare them. Reports in German said he has been fined €250,000 ($338,974) by tax authorities for failing to declare the watches and who he had received them from.

When asked by The Mail on Sunday newspaper who Rummenigge had received the watches as a present from, an ECA spokesperson said: “This is a private matter.”

Qatar was awarded the FIFA 2022 World Cup in 2010, but it has been the focus of ongoing controversy over plans to move the staging of the tournament to a winter date to avoid the excessive desert heat, which can rise to around 50 degrees Celsius.

FIFA is expected to decide whether to reschedule the Qatar tournament at its executive committee meeting early next month.

Retiming the World Cup could open up legal action from countries that lost the bid to host the 2022 tournament, professional leagues, broadcaster Fox and sponsors.

Australian Football Federation chairman Frank Lowy said earlier this month he would sue FIFA to reclaim the $40m his country spent on its lost bid.

However, senior FIFA members have said there would be no grounds for legal action due to the wording of contracts with the body.

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee has said it believes it is still possible to hold the event in the summer. The ECA will be consulted regarding any potential move but Rummenigge has already shown his sport for keeping the original April date.

“The temperatures in Qatar then are really quite pleasant,” he told German newspaper Bild.

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Posted by: Goerges

Qatari, what exactly do 200,000 people have to offer to the world? Most of them working for the government and don't even show up to work. What contribution has Qatar done to deserve the world cup?!!

Posted by: alex

What's the problem? Nothing dodgy about a senior football offical going to Qatar and coming back with two (2) small gifts....

Posted by: David Ashley

So where is the news in this article? Everyone knows how Qatar managed to "Win" the World Cup bid.

The ECA and FIFA are simply European organisations that stole our national game and then used their so called "authority" to line their pockets. The officials from these 2 organisations are entirely open to bribery and behave quite openly like a group of Presidents at a summit of the African League.

This isnt news its open knowledge.

Posted by: Mohammed

Frankly Sepp Blatter and several other voting panel members have gone on record stating "politics was involved in Qatar bid voting". If you think proof is showing documents, videos to media; you my friend should stop watching Big Brother, CSI and even South Park!

Posted by: Qatari

" Everyone knows how Qatar managed to "Win" the World Cup bid."

Yet no one has any proof.

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