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‘It couldn’t be better’

Record-breaking Bayern hungry for more

The 2,421 members who attended the FC Bayern Annual General Meeting 2014 at the Audi Dome in Munich were treated to the reassuring and pride-inducing sight of the three trophies garnered by the club’s pro footballers last year – the Bundesliga shield, the DFB Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup – glittering behind the speakers’ podium. The Beko BBL basketball championship trophy was there too, indicative of a glorious 2013/14 for the club’s sports teams. However, it was also FCB’s best-ever fiscal year in financial terms too.

“We’ve had a good sporting and business year,” summarised chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after finance director Jan-Christian Dreesen revealed a new record balance sheet. The news that the total of 251,315 registered members made Bayern currently “the biggest sports club in the world,” as reported by president Karl Hopfner, was the icing on the cake of a remarkable evening. “These are fantastic successes, coupled with spectacular football and also great affection from the fans. It couldn’t be better,” Rummenigge declared.

World champions FCB

“The respect paid to FC Bayern has never been higher than today,” said Rummenigge, “our club is exemplary when it comes to success paired with responsible financial conduct.” Including the European Super Cup, which is now in the Real Madrid trophy cabinet, FCB won “four trophies last year, and it was also four the year before. I don’t think any of us has ever witnessed eight trophies in two years. Hats off to that,” Rummenigge said.

“With all this silverware, you can practically say FC Bayern also won the World Cup,” Rummenigge quipped. Seven Munich men featured in the Final in Rio and Mario Götze scored the winning goal. Fourteen Bayern pros were at the finals in Brazil, “and no club supplied more players than us,” Rummenigge proudly stated.

Allianz Arena paid off in full

Rummenigge highlighted many of the club’s commercial successes too, with sponsorship income up 20 percent compared to the previous year and merchandising records smashed. “We sold 1.3 million shirts, more than ever before and more than all the other 17 Bundesliga clubs combined,” the chairman noted. FCB increased merchandising income in 2013/14 by 27 percent to €105.2 million.

Rummenigge confirmed the good news regarding financing of the Allianz Arena: less than nine and a half years since the official opening in 2005, FC Bayern has “paid off all costs in full. The whole club can be very proud of that,” Rummenigge emphasised, announcing an imminent capacity increase from 71,000 to 75,000 for domestic matches and from 68,000 to 70,000 for European and international games. “It’s agreed with the municipal authorities. I’m optimistic the capacity increase will be approved in time for the second half of the season.”

Hoeneß to return on day release

Uli Hoeneß, who is currently serving a jail term for tax evasion, was hailed by the meeting. “If the authorities agree, Uli Hoeneß could be awarded the status of day release prisoner in the New Year and be given a position in our youth section,” Hopfner confirmed. “Let’s hope this would mark the beginning of the end of a period for him that must be more difficult than we can imagine.”

Rummenigge concluded by voicing hope that the current year could build on the success of the previous one. “Everyone predicted a patchy and tough start [after the World Cup]. We’ve disappointed them all,” the chairman remarked, praising the “magnificent performance” of the team and head coach Pep Guardiola, “a blessing for FC Bayern,” so far this season. Dreesen finished on a positive note: “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, but we still have enough hunger for new challenges. We don’t need to worry about the future.”