Amid the Bayern Munich celebrations after a remarkable year, Uli Hoeness is reduced to tears over his ongoing tax scandal

The president of the treble winners has been overwhelmed with the solidarity the club has displayed

It should have been a triumphant evening in Munich for Uli Hoeness. The Bayern president was presiding over what was arguably the most successful AGM in the club’s 113 year history. It was a night of celebration. But Uli Hoeness wept openly.

On the field, Bayern had won the treble, and by extension their fifth European Cup. They had won the league with a 25 point advantage over second placed Borussia Dortmund and, a third of the way into the current season, were table toppers once again. They had secured the services of Pep Guardiola to continue the legacy of Jupp Heynckes, and signed a host of the world’s most gifted midfield stars.

Financially, too, the club had every right to be smug last night. A record turnover of 432.8m Euros, and profits of 14m Euros made for some comfortable reading for those in the red half of Munich. Predictably, membership had also risen to 223,985, leaving the club only a short way behind leaders Benfica as the sports club with the second highest amount of members in the world.

But this night, despite all that, was always going to be about Hoeness. Not because of the way he has shaped this football club over the last thirty years, nor for the rather obvious reason that he is the president of the club. It was about Hoeness because in March, the man who embodies FC Bayern will be in court and, in the worst case scenario, may face prison.

The scandal over Hoeness’ Swiss bank account has wound along inseparably from the club’s successes in 2013, from the moment he made a self-declaration of unpaid tax in January, through his arrest in March, the revelation of the entire story in the press at Eastertime, and the boos that rang through Wembley as the Bayern players briefly passed him the European Cup in May.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness is reduced to tears at the club's annual general meeting Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness is reduced to tears at the club's annual general meeting  

It is a testament to how significant Uli Hoeness, FC Bayern and football are to the cultural landscape of Germany that this story has made front pages time and again over the last seven or eight months. Angela Merkel was one of the first to express her disappointment in Hoeness, while leading members of the Social Democratic Party SPD were quick to pounce on the story, with then party candidate Peer Steinbrück declaring it indicative of the Coalition’s laziness in dealing with tax agreements with Switzerland. 

Hoeness’ self declaration meanwhile, has allegedly correlated with an unprecedented rise in other citizens doing the same thing. The amount of tax evaders who declared their own errors was as high as 9186 in the first half of 2013.

Then, there is of course the footballing side. With pressure from many political and public figures for Hoeness to resign from his posts as Chairman and President of FC Bayern, the club has refused to budge. The board declined to ask him to leave last Easter, and he has enjoyed the unerring support of those around him in football ever since. It was Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s speech at the AGM last night which set the tears rolling down Hoeness’ face.

“Uli is the spiritus rector of this club. Without his engagement and his commitment, it would not be what it is and represents. Friendship reveals itself, when you stand by one another in difficult times. I have the impression, that I am not the only friend of Uli Hoeness here; that the whole of FC Bayern is his friend.”

For Hoeness, the emotion was too much. And after all the errors and silence of the preceding months, it was his turn to thank the club for that solidarity. “I am overwhelmed, not just from Karl-Heinz’s speech, but from the reaction of all our members. Thank you so much.”

Then came the question of the future. The man who was voted as president with a majority of 97.1 per cent at the last throw promised his fans that after the trial, he would call a meeting and a vote on his position as president and chairman. “I made a mistake. I am not absolving myself of that. I will accept any vote and decision, and will give you the right to decide if I am still the right president for this club.”

It was a bittersweet end to a remarkable year in the history of this club. The staggering growth of its on field reputation coupled with the incredible potential of the Hoeness scandal to destroy that reputation have re-established FC Bayern München as one of the most interesting clubs in world football. Last night, they could celebrate and profess solidarity. Now all they can do is wait for March, when Uli Hoeness will learn his fate.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor