Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has hit back at claims he has lost control of the club and said he was “shocked” by criticism directed at him during Friday’s annual general meeting.
A Bayern Munich club member spoke out to attack the 66-year-old president for a host of issues, including banning honorary captain Paul Breitner from the stands, the appointment of sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, the way he dealt with coach Niko Kovac, the club’s transfer policy, Bayern’s ties with Qatar, and Hoeness’ treatment of former club employees such as Juan Bernat.
When he tried to respond, Hoeness was shouted down by “liar” chants but on Sunday said he never experienced anything like it in his 40 years at Bayern.
“A small fraction tried to damage my untainted reputation as a director, executive and president,” Hoeness said. “I must honestly say I was shocked, I was surprised and thus I am so happy I reacted as calm as I did.
“I have never experienced anything like this. I hope it changes again, otherwise it’s no longer my FC Bayern. Because that’s something I won’t accept.”
But for a two-year stint during his prison term for evading taxes, Hoeness has been in various leadership roles at Bayern Munich since 1979, when he ended his playing career at the age of only 27.
Yet discontent with his role at the club has grown ever since he was re-elected as the Bayern president with a 98.5 percent vote in November 2016.
At the weekend, Bayern returned to form on the pitch as they moved up to fourth in the Bundesliga standings with a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen. But amid uncertainty over the futures of Hoeness and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and off the pitch issues continue to overshadow the club’s season.
Hoeness has been elected as president until November 2019 and has yet to announce whether he will stand for re-election, while Rummenigge is under contract until 2019 and has been offered a new two-year deal by the club. He has said he will make a decision on his future this month after consulting with his wife, with Oliver Kahn touted as his possible successor.