It came as a surprise when Uli Hoeness announced that he would not run for re-election for the presidency of Bayern Munich this year. When he steps down, he’ll retain only a role on Bayern’s supervisory board, where he can still be involved in important matters pertaining to the club. It now has been suggested that Hoeness’ decision to step down was the result of pressure from within Bayern’s front office, and in particular, disputes with club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Speaking to the press (Sport1) at Bayern’s visit to the Bavarian State Chancellery earlier today, former Bavaria Minister President Edmund Stoiber said that the quarreling between Hoeness and Rummenigge, particularly over Niko Kovac, led to Hoeness’s decision:
The annual general assembly was such a shock for him; of course afterward there also were the disputes with Kalle [Karl-Heinz Rummenigge], the debate over the coach.
Hoeness had stood by Kovac when Bayern experienced rough patches early in the Hinrunde of the 2018/2019 season, while Rummenigge had remained skeptical of the Croatian until he led the club to a domestic double. After Hoeness’ imminent departure at the end of the year, observers will be watching Kovac and Rummenigge for any signs of tension.
In addition to the rift between Hoeness and Rummenigge over Kovac, Stoiber recognized that Hoeness also wants to be able to spend some more time with his family moving forward:
He wants to be there more now for his grandchildren. But he’s staying on the supervisory board.
As BFW’s own John Dillon put it back in July just after Hoeness had officially announced his decision to not run for re-election, the decision-making process for footballing matters of the club was constantly a power struggle between Hoeness and Rummenigge:
Hoeness is, in a sense, at odds with the structure of Bayern Munich itself. He is president of Bayern München e.V., the registered club (eingetragener Verein) that serves as the umbrella organization for the various Bayern Munich teams beneath it, from the soccer to the chess team. But in theory it should be Karl-Heinz Rummenigge alone, as CEO of Bayern München AG, the corporate entity that encompasses the soccer team, who calls the shots in all things soccer. In practice, Hoeness should serve in a secondary capacity: in reality, the soccer team has had two direct bosses who have not always seen eye to eye.
While feelings may be mixed within Bayern’s front office, Stoiber, for one, is disappointed to see Hoeness step down from his post. He is, in Stoiber’s eyes, irreplaceable at Bayern:
He is the soul, the head, and the heart of FC Bayern. You cannot replace such a personality like for like.
Stoiber is content, though, that Hoeness will remain a factor on the board:
The foundation has been laid so well, and there is such harmony between Uli and Herbert Hainer. Uli will continue to be on the supervisory board, and he will definitely continue to be a great representative of FC Bayern. He will still wield influence with the appropriate restraint.
Former Adidas CEO and FC Bayern AG board member Herbert Hainer is the front-runner to be elected new president of Bayern Munich. Stoiber feels that while Hainer might not have as outstanding a footballing pedigree as Hoeness, he is nonetheless a viable replacement:
He himself made it only as far as the Landesliga [i.e. the 6th tier], but he can do it: act on the national and international stage, which you have to do at a club. No one can be perfectly replaced, but he is a very good solution.