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Decision imminent

Board directors set to agree new deals

Planning for the future is always a pre-Christmas topic at Bayern, and this festive season is no different. On this occasion, the round of contract negotiations extends beyond the playing staff to encompass the management floor. Board directors Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeneß and Karl Hopfner are all poised to agree extensions to their current deal with the club, well ahead of their expiry date in summer 2006.

Club President Franz Beckenbauer, in his role as chairman of the supervisory board, indicated to the Annual General Meeting in November that Bayern would seek to prolong the successful era in the club's history presided over by the three-man board.

Pre-Christmas agreement in sight

"The supervisory board would like to sign and seal the new contracts before Christmas," Rummenigge commented on Tuesday before the Munich party set off for the final Champions League group fixture in Bruges. "Let's see if we can get it done and dusted."

Rummenigge, Hoeneß and Hopfner have individually signalled their willingness to continue in their current roles, "but only as a package," Rummenigge noted. General manager Hoeneß said he had "basically agreed" to continue beyond 2006, but that the arrangement was "not yet definitive. There's nothing cast in stone yet," he informed

Variable contract lengths

Specifically, the length of any new deals will be a matter for negotiation, with Rummenigge ruling out a second five-year term. "I don't believe I'll sign a five-year extension. I've always said I'm no friend of long-term solutions. And furthermore, it's only right and proper to change the situation we have next year, and not have all the contracts expiring at once."

Should all three board directors leave office at the same time, the supervisory board would be faced with an almost insurmountable problem. "And we will all inevitably step down at some point," the chairman smiled.

Bayern or nothing

Rummenigge echoed comments made by Hoeneß in a recent interview by categorically ruling out a switch to a different club. "Where can you go after you've worked for Bayern Munich?" the former world-class striker noted. "It would all not exactly rate as a step up, within Germany at least."

Rummenigge also rejected suggestions he might be prepared to move abroad. "I've worked abroad before, and it was very interesting. But I'm not planning to do it again."