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'I won't disappoint you'

Hoeneß returns as Bayern president

Uli Hoeneß has begun a second term as FC Bayern president. An overwhelming majority of 98.5 percent of the 7,152 members in attendance at Friday evening’s FC Bayern München eV Annual General Meeting at the Audi Dome in Munich voted for the 64-year-old to resume his tenure of the most important office at the club. 6,986 members voted in favour, 108 voted against and 58 abstained. Hoeneß was greeted on arrival by a standing ovation and began his acceptance speech at a quarter to 11 local time. “I promise I won’t disappoint you,” he declared.

Hoeneß joined FC Bayern in 1970 and went on to win everything there was to win. When he was forced to end his playing career due to injury at the age of 27 in 1979, he began a second career as a general manager and made FC Bayern one of Europe's most successful clubs. After 30 years of service as general manager and board member he succeeded Franz Beckenbauer in November 2009, but stepped down in March 2014 after a conviction for tax irregularities. 987 days later he has returned.

Aiming to act as a link

“I’m asking you for a second chance,” Hoeneß declared in his speech prior to the election, “I promise I’ll do everything I can to fulfil your expectations. I want to act as a link between the members and the club. I want to act as a link between the supervisory board and the board of directors. I want to act as a link between the advisory board and the club committee. And I want to be a carer and advisor for all the staff and players. And the coaches can also come to me for advice.”

Furthermore, Hoeneß said he would monitor “FC Bayern’s huge social responsibilities. That’s important to me.” Complementing his own family, the new president said it was “the FC Bayern family” who had given him the strength to complete his custodial sentence. He recalled the “affection, love and friendship” he felt in his last appearance at an FCB AGM in May 2014, and the 5,500 letters he received while in prison. “Sometimes I lay in bed and cried like a baby, because I couldn’t understand why people who don’t know me could write letters of encouragement stretching to several pages.”

‘Welcome back’

The difficult period had caused him to reflect on many things, Hoeneß revealed, but he would not be relinquishing one particular attribute: “The straight-talking ability to deal with problems. It’s not gone to sleep, it’s resting. And it can be brought back any time as required.” The 64-year-old accepts he made “a very big mistake. But I’ve done everything I can to make amends for this huge error. I’ve done everything I can to earn another chance. And now I’m here.” The members present greeted the end of Hoeneß’ emotional speech with a long standing ovation.

“Dear Uli, I wish you a beautiful, successful and emotional return to your old post as FC Bayern president,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had said before the election. “I'll never forget your face and your eyes when you came back to the Säbener Strasse for the first time on 2 January 2015. Your face said everything Uli has gone through. One could see you’d had extremely difficult times behind you, so we're glad you've deservedly retaken your post as president. I'm looking forward to working with you again. I wish for a trusting, loyal, harmonious, respectful and good cooperation for the benefit of FC Bayern. Dear Uli, welcome back.”