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Finance director Karl Hopfner

‘We can happily live with last year’s profit’

Bayern’s loyal army of fans besieged board director Karl Hopfner with a barrage of questions during Tuesday’s FCB.tv live chat. The 56-year-old, a leading figure in the club’s management structures for more than quarter of a century and whose responsibilities include finance, spent more than half-an-hour answering queries ranging from the latest balance sheet to the current transfer policy. fcbayern.de reviews the most interesting questions and answers.

Karl Hopfner on…

…the excellent results in the last fiscal year: “It’s due to the team reaching the UEFA Cup semi-finals and the DFB Cup final. Our planning is only ever based on hitting our minimum targets, which were the top two in the Bundesliga, the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup, and simply surviving the first round in the DFB Cup. The team was more successful than that, so we generated incremental revenues. We also concluded a very good TV deal for the UEFA Cup, and we benefited from an enormous transfer surplus of more than €33 million. The AG [joint stock company] would have made a substantially greater profit of €11.1 million, but it was the first full year after our consolidation of [stadium operating company] Allianz Arena München Stadion GmbH. This involved a profit and loss transfer agreement, so a €7 million loss from the Stadion GmbH showed on the AG balance sheet. That left a profit of €4.1 million before tax. We can very happily live with that.”

…future star transfers: “We made huge investments in 2007-8. We built the ServiceCenter, and we undertook renovation work all over the HQ and training facility, including the addition of two new football pitches. Naturally, that all impacts on our cash position. But we can state without reservation that the AG has no debts or bank liabilities whatsoever, and that we still have a sum in reserve.”

…the cost of constructing the performance centre: “It’s impossible to put a simple figure on that. The facility as a whole was constructed in 1990, and urgently required renovation some 18 years later. As part of the renovation, we incorporated certain timely modifications and improvements. We can put a figure of €5 million on the total renovation project - for the ServiceCenter, the performance centre, remodelling the site, and reconstruction of the old buildings.”

…potential external investors: “The board is strictly in favour of the 50+1 rule, whereby the mother club, [members’ club] FC Bayern München e.V., retains a minimum of 50 percent plus one of the shares in FC Bayern München AG, preventing any outsider gaining majority control of the club.”

…the Allianz Arena: “Constructing the stadium cost around €340 million, of which more than €70 million is already paid off. However, all the financial agreements are long-term and concluded over 25 years.”

…what it was like when he started at Bayern in 1983: “There were only two executives, Uli Hoeneß and me. We had a staff of 12 and turnover of around €12 million. We could never have predicted the sensational growth in turnover, profit and membership. Everything’s much bigger now, but the mentality’s changed too. Twenty-five years ago, we generally concluded transfers by phone. Your word was your bond. Now there’s a great deal more red tape. As an example, our application for a playing licence from the DFL and UEFA used to be two pages, now it’s two binders. We would like to see other countries pursue the same rigorous licensing procedures operated by the DFL in Germany, as that would certainly eliminate some of the financial malarkey you see elsewhere.”

…his future at Bayern: “All the board members are on fixed-term contracts. My contract expires on 31 December 2011. I’ll be just shy of my 60th birthday by then, so we’ll have to see what happens next.”

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