Ribery, Kahn believe in Hoeness` Bayern return

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 18:57

Berlin: Both France winger Franck Ribery and ex-Germany captain Oliver Kahn believe disgraced ex-club president Uli Hoeness will return to work at Bayern Munich after serving a prison sentence for fraud.

The 62-year-old Hoeness resigned as Bayern`s president last Friday, 24 hours after being convicted of having cheated the state out of 28.5 million euros ($39.5 million) in unpaid taxes.

He was sentenced to three and a half years in jail by a Munich regional court and Hoeness has walked away from the European champions after more than 40 years service.

"No one exemplifies Bayern as much as Uli Hoeness," Kahn wrote in his blog for German daily Bild.

"I can well imagine that he will make a comeback out of this difficult situation. "Anyone who writes off Uli Hoeness doesn`t know him very well."

And French star Ribery says Hoeness should be welcomed back by Bayern after his release from Landsberg prison, near Munich.

"Everyone has at some time or another had problems or made mistakes," Ribery told magazine Sport Bild.

"Such things can happen in life, but for a mistake, which you`ve admitted to and regretted, you shouldn`t be deprived of your life`s work.

"When you think of Bayern Munich, you automatically think of Uli Hoeness. He`s the heart of the club."

While Hoeness waits to start his jail term, Edmund Stoiber, head of Bayern`s management board, has already said there could be a role for him after his release.

"A door is always open and Uli Hoeness will always be the soul of the club," Stoiber told Bavarian television.

"Whatever he wants to do, anything is possible."

On Saturday, Bayern named Karl Hopfner as Hoeness` successor as club president.

Adidas` CEO Herbert Hainer, the CEO of German sportswear giants Adidas, takes over from Hoeness as chairman of Bayern`s advisory board.

Both positions must be ratified by a vote on May 2 at the club`s general assembly.

All five of Bayern`s European titles in 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001 and 2013 came with him involved as either a player, general manager or club president.

Before his arrival as an 18-year-old in 1970, Bayern had won just two of their 23 German league titles.

Bayern`s 24th German league title could be confirmed on Saturday if they win at Mainz 05 and both rivals Dortmund and Schalke draw.

AFP

First Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 18:57

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