Hoeness: 2013 a year of mixed fortunes
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has described 2013 as “the most difficult year of my life” but believes he will be well prepared for his tax evasion trial in 2014.
Hoeness, 61, made headlines earlier this year for his voluntary disclosure to the German tax authorities and will go before a Munich court in March of next year. If convicted, the Bayern legend could face imprisonment.
Speaking to Bavarian radio B5 on Thursday, Hoeness admitted he has endured a tough 12 months but was upbeat about his chances of escaping a prison sentence and insisted Bayern’s Treble triumph had helped temper his other problems.
“I have to divide the year into two parts,” he said. “The one part is Bayern Munich. It was the most incredible year in the club’s history. But on the private side it has been the most difficult year of my and my family’s life.
“I will be well prepared for the trial. And I am still of the opinion that the work of my advisers was OK when filing the voluntary disclosure and the verdict will be in line with this.”
The Bayern president bemoaned the fact that his status as a prominent member of society had not worked in his favour during the investigation against him, saying: “We can no longer call it tax secrecy. And there is no celebrity bonus to be seen far and wide. You can rather talk about a huge celebrity disadvantage.”
Hoeness reflected positively on Bayern’s unprecedented Treble, which was supplemented when Pep Guardiola guided the club to the UEFA Super Cup and could be further enhanced with victory in Saturday’s Club World Cup.
“If I had pictured FC Bayern some 20, 30 years ago, it would have probably looked just like this. With the Allianz Arena, the sea of red and white every Saturday and this incredible amount of club members -- you can’t top that,” Hoeness said.
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge echoed his colleague’s sentiment, saying: “It’s been a spectacular year. We’ve not lost in the Bundesliga, we won the Treble last summer, and then the European Super Cup. Now we’re in another final. Being part of it this year is a gift from God.
“If I’d been asked a couple of years ago whether we’d see something like this year, I wouldn’t have thought it possible. Wherever we go we’re treated with unbelievable respect. It’s wonderful. People like us like never before.”
In 2014, Rummenigge hopes that Bayern can continue along the same path, with the Bundesliga leaders in a strong position to defend their domestic and Champions League titles.
“Barcelona have always been a benchmark for me personally, because they make the semifinals every year and win the final from time to time,” Rummenigge said. “We don’t want to wait another 12 years again. But the bar is set high, as we well know.”