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Standing ovation

Hoeneß' emotional speech

At Friday’s Extraordinary General Meeting the Bayern family received outgoing president Uli Hoeneß with open arms, applause and two standing ovations. Exactly seven weeks after his resignation, the membership rose in support of the former president, board director, general manager and player, who has been sentenced to jail for tax evasion and relinquished his club offices as a consequence.

“Uli Hoeneß is the heart and soul of Bayern Munich,“ said Karl Hopfner, who would later be elected Hoeneß’s successor as president: “Dear Uli, you have a wonderful family, but you have family here at the club as well. We wish you the energy you will need for the testing times ahead. You can decide in your own time what you want to do afterwards.”

Hoeneß: I won’t retire

A visibly moved Hoeneß began speaking at a quarter past seven in the evening. “This will be a difficult speech,” he said, thanking Hopfner for his kind words. “They’ve done me good, just like everything on the part of the club has done me good.” In an emotional address, Hoeneß made no secret of the pain the coverage of the trial caused him and his family: “I discovered something in myself that I never had before, namely hate. And hate is never good! It is neither a good adviser nor fellow traveller. I’ll do everything I can to get this word out of my head again.“

The 62-year-old gave a frank assessment of his personal situation: “I made a huge mistake and I have to bear the consequences.” However after his release he is ready to assist the club with help and advice: “I will serve my term. But once I’m back I don’t intend to retire. It’s not over yet!“

‘With a clear conscience’

For the time being Hoeneß bade farewell “with a clear conscience. I’m not in the slightest worried for this club. All the important committees are in a fantastic state. It’s a dream come true. If I’d had to imagine FC Bayern as I’d have liked it to be, I’ve have imagined it as it now is: as a big family, soon to be the biggest club in the world by membership, where the members really do have a say.”

The audience at the Audi Dome rose again to applaud at the end of the 15 minute address. “I think it’s wonderful you’ve said you’ll come back. I’m delighted,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Hopfner thanked Hoeneß for “everything you’ve achieved for our club so far.” Hoeneß had declined an honour from the club, the new FCB president revealed, “but from our point of view it’s merely postponed and not cancelled.“