The Bayern Munich football club will donate $1.11m to help refugees and set up a training camp for those arriving in Munich, as the number of people arriving in the city continues to rise.
Thousands have crossed into Germany via Hungary and Austria with Munich’s train station one of the main points of entry.
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The plight of those fleeing conflict in their countries such as Syria, as well as people from elsewhere escaping poverty, has polarised opinion in Europe.
“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,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement.
Bayern’s youth academy will set up the training camp for kids, in conjunction with the city of Munich. Apart from regular training, it will also offer meals and German language classes.
The senior team will be accompanied by refugee children when they enter the pitch for their next home game against Augsburg on September 12, with the club also planning a friendly with $1.11m of revenue going towards helping refugees.
“FC Bayern is taking a stand and I am happy about the club’s involvement,” Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said.
“That is why I happily approved the city’s support.”
Germany expects to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, four times more than in 2014, Germany’s Labour and Social Affairs Minister Andrea Nahles said on Thursday.
Banners with “Refugees welcome” or “Welcome to Germany” were visible in almost every Bundesliga match last week while many teams have also invited refugees to watch their games from the stands.
The German football association (DFB) on Wednesday issued a video message condemning any attacks on refugees or on their accommodation in Germany as well as any form of xenophobia.
A friendly game against a “Refugees United” team next week is also planned with DFB employees.
‘Germany, thank you!’
Many of the refugees arriving in Vienna’s railway station earlier this week immediately raced to board trains heading to Germany, as policemen looked on passively, preferring not to intervene, witnesses said.
Refugees cheered and chanted “Germany, thank you!” as they saw a welcome sign held up by local people at Munich Central Station.
Police said around 500 refugees, mainly from the Middle East, were on the train. They were to be transported by bus to camps where they will be registered.
Germany has taken in more asylum seekers than any other European Union country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for other EU nations to do more to help deal with this year’s influx of refugees.