By Staff writer
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says the Aspire Academy is the 'best training facility in world football'
The CEO of German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich has said the upcoming winter training camp in Qatar should not be viewed as a “political statement”.
Qatar has come under increasing criticism and pressure from rights groups and unions over the treatment of migrant workers, who say construction companies building the World Cup stadia are providing sub-standard and squalid accommodation to labourers.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, CEO of the current Bundesliga champions, said the training camp provides ideal training conditions for Bayern, who have used the Aspire Academy every year since 2011.
“The Aspire Academy is the best training facility in world football," Rummenigge told the Bild newspaper.
“Doha offers an ideal climate in January - and there is virtually no time difference.”
He said the decision to train in Doha should be seen “a political statement”.
“No-one should mix things that do not belong together. They know our beliefs, for example in the question of workers’ rights. But they will only listen to us on the basis of respect and trust. That is why we talk to them and not about them.
“Sport can build bridges and develop partnerships, which is one of its strengths ... if there is a chance to change through sport, then it lies in partnerships,” he said.
Borussia Dortmund, another of Bundesliga’s leading sides, will also be training in the Gulf region during the league's winter break, traveling to Dubai for a training camp.