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Jérôme Boateng: How Bayern are harming themselves – and what the court case is about

Possible return campaign How Bayern are harming themselves in the Boateng case – and what his legal proceedings are about

“Private story”: Jerome Boateng in November 2022 before the Munich regional court

© Christof Stache / AFP

FC Bayern is considering whether to bring Jérôme Boateng back due to a personnel emergency. Given the allegations of violence that are still being made against the former world champion, this is not a good idea.

For FC Bayern’s new sports director, Christoph Freund, the matter with Jérôme Boateng is no problem at all: “Our approach is to what is best for FC Bayern in terms of sport.” Freund, who has only been in office at the German record champions for a month, has made it unmistakably clear how he views the Boateng case and his possible commitment as a short-term substitute player. “That’s why it’s his private story and not a big issue for us,” Freund continued.

The “private story” means the allegations of violence against Boateng and the lawsuits that have been and are being held against him because of them. They may not actually be a big issue for FC Bayern, but they are for the supporters and the public. Because the debate about this has long since broken out, even if there will only be a “decision at the end of this week,” as Freund announced. Even before the Champions League game against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday evening, Boateng, 35, is the dominant topic. The allegations of violence cannot simply be brushed aside, even if Bayern would prefer to do so given their acute personnel situation. For them, signing Boateng would be a simple and cheap solution in terms of sport (if they think he is fit enough).

The ethical question arises by itself

But the question of whether it is ethically responsible for FC Bayern to sign a professional footballer like Boateng arises. FC Bayern is not just any club, but one of the largest and most successful clubs in the world, which results in one certain social responsibility can be derived. And Boateng is not an everyday footballer, but a world champion, Champions League winner and multiple German champion. A former superstar who had reached the top.

Now, at the end of his career, the shine has faded and the once positive image has taken a serious beating. Boateng has been facing charges of assault and insult for two years. He is said to have attacked and insulted his then-girlfriend during a Caribbean vacation in 2018. He was sentenced to high fines in two trials, after which an appeal or revision was allowed. Boateng is currently not an officially convicted perpetrator.

Initially, the Munich district court imposed a fine of 1.8 million euros with 60 daily rates against Boateng in 2021. In a second trial before the Munich regional court, he was sentenced to 1.2 million euros at 120 daily rates. The second sentence seems more lenient, but it is not. From 90 daily rates you have a criminal record. The amount of the total amount depends on the assets of the convicted person, who apparently no longer has as much money as he did at the time of the first verdict.

The Kasia Lenhardt case also plays a role

Both the public prosecutor and the defense appealed against the last case. The process will now be reopened in another chamber of the regional court, the outcome is open. However, the judge in the second trial was convinced that the allegations against Boateng were credible in any case.

In order to understand the full dimension of a new Boateng commitment by Bayern, you also have to look at the other case in which the professional footballer was involved. Former girlfriend Katarzyna “Kasia” Lenhardt, a model, also publicly accused Boateng of beating her after the breakup. Boateng then gave an interview to “Bild” in which he questioned Lenhardt’s credibility and assumed she had alcohol problems. Afterwards, a shitstorm broke out over the ex-model, and a short time later she committed suicide.

Advice and help

Do you have suicidal thoughts? Telephone counseling offers help. It is anonymous, free and available around the clock on (0800) 1110111 and (0800) 1110222. Advice via email is also possible. A list of nationwide help centers can be found on the website of the German Society for Suicide Prevention.

The case shook up the entire country at the time. There was intensive debate about the violence of professional footballers against women and the abuse of power by prominent men. A court sentenced Boateng last year that he was no longer allowed to spread the allegations from the interview. Leonhardt’s mother had filed a lawsuit against him.

The fact that Bayern are even considering signing Boateng also reveals bad sporting planning. During the transfer phase last summer, the hastily assembled transfer task force gave up two defenders (Pavard, Stanisic), but only brought in one replacement, the South Korean Kim Min-Jae. A central defender is missing, as is another defensive midfielder. In short: The Bayern squad is stretched thin and the need is great. This was exemplified by the cup game against Preußen Münster. There, Leon Goretzka and Noussair Mazzraoui, two players who had never played in this position had to play as central defenders. Since Kim is taking part in the Asian Championships in January, the staffing level will be very thin. And the panic among Bayern is greater.

Sources: DPA, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, “Focus”, “Tagesschau”, “Bild”, “Zeit”

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