• Champions League

Hoeness questions Manchester United owners

ESPN staff
March 11, 2013

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has told the Sun that the owner of a football club should have an emotional attachment to the side and not just be driven by making money, citing Manchester United owners, the Glazers, as an example.

Hoeness won three Bundesliga titles during his playing days with Bayern before becoming the club's president, and Bayern's long-term interests are the German's priority.

The structure of football in Germany is much admired across Europe, with low ticket prices leading to high average attendances. Bayern are 80% owned by their members which is a different model to that in England, where recently a trend of affluent businessmen from abroad have invested in clubs such as Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

On the subject of ownership, Hoeness told the Sun: "I only want to have big sporting success on a sound economic basis. It's no fun to win the championship or Champions League with a £50-£60 million loss. The 12,000 cheap tickets are for young people and the people who cannot afford it otherwise. Football must always be affordable.

"When you only pay €15 (£12) you can't say 'I hate these millionaires' because you cannot finance the millionaires with €15. The €15 tickets are standing seats behind the goals. Our most expensive season ticket is around €800."

He continued: "Football, you do with your heart. I have no problem with people from Arabia or Russia but they should have a connection to the club, from the heart.

"At Bayern we don't look always for short-term success. I've won about 20 titles. To win the 21st title I'll not sell out the club. But if somebody comes in who's won nothing, he wants to win quickly and under this pressure he makes decisions which can be very difficult.

"I do not compare ourselves to United for instance which is a very big club and famous and one I admire greatly. But Mr Glazer didn't know where Manchester was 20 years ago. He doesn't do it because he loves United. He wants to make money."

Asked about Wednesday's Champions League opponents Arsenal, whose majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has recently been linked with selling his stake, Hoeness said: "I've a very good opinion about Arsenal's people and how they think. They do it correctly.

"At the moment, OK, they have some problems in the squad but in their financial behaviour they are correct. If Mr Kroenke says, 'I want to make money' then he has to find people who love the club. Arsene Wenger for a long time has been a good icon for the club. He has done a great job."

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