BERLIN (Reuters) - Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness, facing trial for tax evasion next year, broke down in tears as the club posted their best financial results in 113 years.
In a festive annual general assembly, Hoeness, who received several standing ovations, could not hold back his tears as club bosses heaped praise on him following a treble-winning season.
Turnover stood at 393 million euros ($526.80 million), up from 332 million ($445.03 million) in 2011-12.
When turnover for the Allianz Arena Stadium Ltd was taken into account, the treble-winning club’s figure cracked the 400 million euro mark for the first time and stood at 432.8 million($580.15 million), Bayern said at their annual general assembly in Munich.
With chants of “Uli, Uli” in support of Hoeness, who is charged with failing to pay taxes in relation to a Swiss bank account, some 4,000 members in the Audi Dome arena gave the board a vocal seal of approval after a record-breaking season.
Hoeness, at the club for more than 40 years as player, manager and president, addressed his legal woes, saying he had made a mistake in relation to a Swiss bank account.
“I made a big mistake by not having investment income abroad taxed. I did not take hundreds of millions out of the country,” said Hoeness, after wiping away tears. “I will face this mistake.”
Hoeness, who enjoys the board’s backing, said he would call an extraordinary general meeting after the end of his trial to see whether members still wanted him to stay in charge.
“I have every faith in the Bavarian justice system,” he said amid roaring applause.
“I hope this story has a good ending in March. If I am then still allowed to be here then I promise you I will serve this club until the day I stop breathing.”
Bayern, who last season became the first German team to win the domestic league and Cup double as well as the Champions League, saw a sharp rise in sponsorship and marketing revenues, topping 102 million euros ($136.73 million), up from 82 million ($109.92 million)the previous season.
Merchandising income also recorded a steep rise to 82.8 million euros ($110.99 million), from 57.4 million ($76.94 million)in the last fiscal year.
Core earnings, referred to by the financial acronym EBITDA, dipped slightly to 67 million ($89.81 million), down from 69.3 million ($92.89 million). After tax profit stood at 14 million($18.77 million), up from 11 million ($14.74 million) while the club’s equity further increased to 286.8 million euros ($384.44 million).
“The Bayern company set a new record turnover in the past year and that makes it part of the big clubs in world football,” said Bayern’s financial chief Jan-Christian Dreesen with all four trophies won in recent months, including the European Super Cup, on display next to the speaker’s podium.
The German record champions also saw an increase in membership, from 195,689 last season to 223,985 registered members.
Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are the world’s richest club’s by income. Real’s revenues exceeded 500 million euros ($670.22 million) for a second consecutive season in 2012-13, rising 1.3 percent to 520.9 million ($698.24 million), the club said last month.
Barcelona said this week that income for last season was just over 490 million euros ($656.82 million)and was projected to rise to 509 million ($682.29 million)in 2013-14.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Editing Tony Goodson