Uli Hoeness verdict hands Bayern tough choice

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Bayern Munich may be dominating and setting records on the pitch, but off it the European champions have tough decisions to make with club president Uli Hoeness now likely jail-bound for tax fraud.

Hoeness’s three-and-a-half-year sentence Thursday in a Munich court has sent shock waves through the Champions League holders and will force them to live without the figurehead and driving force behind their success.

“Uli Hoeness is the most important person in this club,” star coach Pep Guardiola said earlier this week, expressing a widely-held sentiment. “Uli is a friend and it will always remain so.”

Hoeness’s fall from grace comes with the club he built on the ascendancy and confirmed as the best club side on the planet after winning the Club World Cup last December.

Hoeness, 62, was still both president and chairman of the board, which had refused his resignation last May, vowing to back him until his trial was heard.

Amidst calls from German politicians for Hoeness’s resignation, the board stood by him as he shed tears of gratitude.

There has been zero condemnation from within the tight-knit Bayern camp.

The club’s stance was that tax matters were personal choices made by Hoeness, unconnected to his work as an employee, but his conviction now tarnishes the image of his beloved Bayern.