After a weekend of putting himself forward to head the German Football League, former Bayern Munich commercial manager Uli Hoeness surprisingly took himself out of the running on Monday. The reasons are still unclear.
Hoeness was a fixture on Bayern's sidelines for three decades
In his 31 years at the helm of Bayern, Uli Hoeness rarely shied away from a confrontation, berating competitors, officials, players and even his own fans, whenever anything stuck in his craw.
But Hoeness has decided to skip a contest with incumbant president Reinhard Rauball when the German Football League (DFL) meets in Berlin on August 18.
In statements leaked to various news agencies from an interview to be published on Tuesday in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Hoeness exaplined his change of heart.
"I would get myself into too many conflicts of interest," Hoeness said. "There were three main reasons that led me not to hand in my application."
Hoeness said that his family had veoted his candidacy and that Bayern Munich fans had feared he would pass on too much know-how from the club. The job as DFL president would also take too much time away from his charity work, Hoeness added.
What might have been
On and off the pitch, he's been a winner
The DFL is the association of the 36 first- and second-division football clubs in Germany and is primarily responsible for marketing and licensing. Hoeness, who over three decades built Bayern into a German powerhouse and one of the richest clubs in the world, had been seen by some as a good fit for the job of president.
In promoting his candidacy over the weekend, Hoeness promised that all clubs would financially benefit if he were elected.
"The second division especially would profit because I can help acquire more money," Hoeness said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "Then we can give small clubs more without having to take money away from the big ones.
Initial signs reaction from some top Bundeliga club bosses to Hoeness' arguments were positive.
"It's possible that a more high-profile person representing the league's interests would be good for the DFL," Bayer Leverkusen chairman Wolfgang Holzhaeuser told the newspaper Die Welt.
Rauball, whom Hoeness had previously praised as doing an adequate job, is no likely to stand unopposed for re-election.
But speculation is sure to go on as to why Hoeness would campaign so vigorously for the league presidency only to turn around and throw in the towel.
Author: Jefferson Chase
Editor: Rob Turner