Uli Hoeness says he hasn’t lost the respect of his peers despite serving time in prison for tax evasion. Hoeness was re-elected unopposed as Bayern Munich president in November.The former West Germany international told reporters at the Alpensymposium, a business and politics conference in Switzerland, that his experience has made him more humble and less likely to speak out on certain issues.
Hoeness served half of a three-and-a-half year jail term and said former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson was one of those who wrote to him while he was incarcerated.
“So far, it has been as it was before, I have received letters from important decision makers in football,” he said.
“I think I still have a relatively good reputation in the international football world which appears not to have suffered.”
Hoeness, who played for the Bavarian giants for nine years in the seventies, was elected as Bayern president in 2009 before stepping down after being convicted in March 2014 for evading 28.5 million euros ($29.87 million) in taxes.
The 65-year-old previously had a reputation for being outspoken, with FIFA among those he criticized publicly. He says he now tries to temper his public outbursts.
“I still have my opinions but I don’t air them so much in public, especially when it involves politics,” he said. “It has naturally changed me, I have become more reflective, tolerant and humble.”
In that vein, Hoeness said he will never authorize any books about his time inside.
“You can imagine that I’ve had many offers to write the real story of the last three years but I would never, ever do that because I had so many intense experiences and it’s better they stay within me, they were so unbelievable,” he said.
“I might share them with my family or my friends over a glass of wine… it gives me goose-bumps.”
But he couldn’t rein in his nature entirely, saying he was “not a fan” of FIFA’s World Cup expansion and repeating a recent observation that he’d like more German players at Bayern.
“At Bayern, more German needs to be spoken in the changing room,” he said. “I would like as many Germans as possible to play for us.
“Arsenal have played matches without a single English player and that for me is unimaginable.”