Bayern Munich will donate $1.1 million to help refugees
Germany's government expects up to 800,000 asylum seekers to come from Syria this year
As Europe wrestles with an unprecedented wave of refugees, Germany’s two biggest football teams have offered their support to migrants arriving in the country.
German champion Bayern Munich announced Thursday it will donate €1 million ($1.1 million) to relevant charitable projects, while the team’s players will walk out for its next match holding hands with young refugees.
Thousands of people, mostly from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have poured into Germany, with hundreds filling a Munich train station earlier this week.
Bayern will also set up a training camp which will offer meals and German language classes to children.
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Germany’s government said last month it expected up to 800,000 asylum seekers to come from Syria this year alone – four times more than in 2014.
“FC Bayern see it as its social responsibility to help those fleeing and suffering children, women and men, to support them and accompany them in Germany,” team CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement.
“FC Bayern is taking a stand and I am happy about the club’s involvement,” added Munich mayor Dieter Reiter. “That is why I happily approved the city’s support.”
The plight of the refugees has prompted an outpouring of support from German football teams and fans alike, with supporters at a number of matches last weekend displaying banners stating: “Refugees welcome.”
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Borussia Dortmund, one of the few teams to have challenged Bayern’s dominance in recent years, invited 200 refugees to attend its match against Danish team Odds Ballklubb last week.
Dortmund also issued a statement declaring that Germany needs migrants – and that the country’s social security system will fall apart without them.
Mainz, which competes alongside Bayern and Dortmund in Germany’s top division, also welcomed refugees to its tie against Hannover.