Fol­low­ing jail term, Hoe­ness re­turns as Bay­ern pres­i­dent

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ULI HOE­NESS re­turns this week to the helm of Bay­ern Mu­nich to re­sume where he left off in 2014 when a tax eva­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion led to a three­and-a-half year prison sen­tence.

His elec­tion as club pres­i­dent and su­per­vi­sory board chair­man should be a for­mal­ity on Fri­day at the club’s an­nual meet­ing where mem­bers are ex­pected over­whelm­ingly to back the man who more than any other has helped shape Bay­ern Mu­nich into a global player.

At 64, Hoe­ness had no in­ten­tion of re­tir­ing fol­low­ing his jail term, and the plain-talk­ing, of­ten con­tro­ver­sial for­mer in­ter­na­tional player re­turns full of elan and on a tide of good­will.

“For Uli there was never any thought than that of re­turn­ing. FC Bay­ern is for him the air that he breathes. It’s his baby, his life,” for­mer Bay­ern coach and friend Jupp Heynckes was quoted as say­ing in Kicker magazine.

Hoe­ness was re­leased from prison on Fe­bru­ary 29 af­ter serv­ing nearly half of a three-and-half-year sen­tence. He had been con­victed by a Mu­nich court in March 2014 of evad­ing taxes es­ti­mated at €28.5mil­lion (RM133m).

Ahead of his re­lease from prison, Hoe­ness had al­ready been on a day re­lease pro­gramme that had en­abled him to work at Bay­ern as an as­sis­tant with the ju­nior team set-up.

“I stand by the fact that I made a mis­take. For this I have atoned and re­paid the (tax) dam­age,” he said.

Will Bay­ern and Ger­man foot­ball ex­pe­ri­ence the old Hoe­ness, who was ve­he­mently par­ti­san in push­ing Bay­ern’s for­tunes, of­ten mak­ing en­e­mies as the club’s power grew?

“Clear words will con­tinue to be my trade­mark, that won’t change, I cer­tainly won’t be beat­ing about the bush,” he was quoted as say­ing in Kicker.

There will also be no change in his char­i­ta­ble en­deav­ours and sup­port for those in need, be it an in­di­vid­ual or a club in fi­nan­cial straits, which have also been his call­ing card. – dpa

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