Soccer games have been known to trigger emotional outbursts, but Bayern Munich may now have set the bar for moving fans and non-fans alike.
Germany is at the heart of the migrant crisis, with 800,000 asylum seekers expected this year alone—four times more than in 2014. To show their support for refugee, the Bayern team has announced it will walk onto the pitch hand-in-hand with both a German and a refugee child at its next home match on Sept. 12. Fans have previously turned up to matches proudly welcoming refugees with huge banners.
“We at FC Bayern consider it our socio-political responsibility to help displaced and needy children, women and men, supporting and assisting them in Germany,” Bayern’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Bayern Munich has not only pledged to donate €1 million ($1.1 million) to refugee support projects, but will also set up a training camp for refugees via its youth teams over the coming weeks. The camp will give kids training kits and food, while also allowing them to take German language classes.
Bayern Munich are among a number of German soccer teams to welcome these new immigrants. Rival teams Borussia Dortmund and Mainz have also given away hundreds of tickets, the Washington Post reports. The lower-division team, Arminia Bielefeld, has also offered refugees 500 free tickets to a match on Sept. 12, Die Welt reports (link in German), which were sold out within two hours.
And elsewhere, others in soccer are also remembering their roots. Scottish champion Celtic has announced it’ll donate the money received from a charity event to refugee support services. “This is absolutely the right thing for us to do,” Tony Hamilton, chief executive of Celtic FC Foundation. “Our club was formed by immigrants, many of whom had escaped the devastation of the great famine.”