presented by
New president

Hoeneß elected Beckenbauer’s successor

Uli Hoeneß is the new FC Bayern Munich president. The 57-year-old was elected to the office vacated by Franz Beckenbauer at Friday’s club AGM by a huge majority. “I’m totally overwhelmed,” Hoeneß said, “I promise I’ll do everything in my power to put Bayern back where we all feel the club should be in sporting terms, and where we already are in commercial terms: right at the top, in Europe and in Germany.”

Of the 4,490 votes cast, 4,458 or 99.3 percent were in favour of Hoeneß taking over from Beckenbauer after the Kaiser’s 15-year term in the job (20 against, 12 abstentions). Following what chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described as “30 years of passion” devoted to the position of manager, Hoeneß is now stepping back from the daily running of the club. The former Germany international was visibly moved as he accepted a lengthy standing ovation, repeated rounds of applause and fulsome praise from a variety of speakers.

Beckenbauer’s standing invitation

Similar acclaim and gratitude was directed towards Beckenbauer, who has been named honorary president some 51 years after he first joined the club as a 13-year-old. “No-one deserves it more than him,” said Hoeneß, denying the handover was the end of Beckenbauer’s relationship with FCB, but instead represented “a new beginning. He has a standing invitation to all club events and activities through to his dying day.” Rummenigge also called on the Kaiser to continue his close involvement with FCB: “Franz, we need you, you are the greatest personality at Bayern.”

Beckenbauer, who was also named honorary captain and will finally be granted a long-delayed testimonial match when Bayern host Real Madrid in August 2010, promised to maintain his close ties with FCB. “Of course I’ll remain connected to Bayern,” the 64-year-old said, “after 51 years you can’t just say: that’s it, bye-bye.”

Hoeneß’s plans for fan liaison

Offering Beckenbauer “the warmest thanks for shaping this football club for 50 years,” Hoeneß confirmed his previously stated intention to interpret the president’s role in an active way. His acceptance speech included one firm proposal in that direction: there would be a members’ and fans’ surgery “perhaps one day per month, with me personally.”

The new president also called for unity between the members, the board, the players and the club. “We have to close ranks. Together, we’re strong!” Hoeneß regarded Friday’s harmonious event as a good sign. “An evening like this shows that the broad fan base is far less discontented than the papers would have you believe.”

Dawn of a new era

Following the election at just after 10 pm, the official handover on the platform saw Hoeneß take over Beckenbauer’s role as chair of the meeting for the remainder of the evening, formally marking the start of a new era. Nevertheless, Rummenigge assured the members of a good degree of continuity. “You can’t just replace the two most important personalities at Bayern, that should be clear to all of us.”