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Standing ovation

Hoeneß: I'll ask for vote of confidence

The atmosphere at the Audi Dome shortly before 7 pm on Wednesday was electric, even before Uli Hoeneß entered the hall. When he did, the meeting rose and chanted the FCB president’s name. Even that that was nothing compared to events at the Bayern AGM an hour and a half later when Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed richly emotional words to his friend. The members rose as one to acclaim Hoeneß and award him a standing ovation lasting several minutes.

Hoeneß was deeply moved and made no secret of his feelings. “I’m overwhelmed,” he declared after drying his tears and composing himself, “not just because of your speech, Karl-Heinz, but because of the reaction of our, my membership.“ The 61-year-old thanked the meeting for such unanimous support in “difficult personal times. I’ll never forget it, and I’m unbelievably proud,” Hoeneß stated.

The club president then announced his intention to call an Extraordinary General Meeting in the near future and voluntarily “submit myself to the will of the membership by asking for a vote of confidence. I wish to give the membership the right to decide whether I’m still the right president for this club.”

Unconditional support from Rummenigge

Hoeneß said he would definitely like to continue in his role as supervisory board chairman, “but only if I receive a clear mandate from you.” The former general manager said he had “never considered stepping down, because the club never proposed it to me. The only important thing to me is the club, not the Handelsblatt [financial newspaper].”

“I would like to state a few facts,” Hoeneß continued, “I have not failed to declare hundreds of millions of euros in unpaid tax. I’ve paid millions of euros in tax for many years. I’ve made donations totalling more than €5 million in the last five years, by not accepting fees for speeches. And I also donated the proceeds from the benefit match for my 60th birthday,” the 61-year-old said, “but I’m not attempting to absolve myself of blame, I admit my mistakes.“ Hoeneß said he is expecting “a fair trial” and is hoping “premature verdicts in the media don’t gain the upper hand.”

Rummenigge earlier promised Hoeneß complete support. “I’m his friend,” said the chairman, “and true friendship shows itself when there are problems. Seeing you, dear members, paid tribute to Uli, I believe FC Bayern as a whole is his friend.“ Hoeneß later pledged: “I’ll serve this club until I can no longer breathe!”