Bayern Munich say Uli Hoeness is welcome back after jail
Bavarian giants already hope club stalwart will be back at the Allianz Arena soon
Despite his conviction for tax fraud, Bayern Munich are planning to welcome back ex-president Uli Hoeness after he has served his prison sentence.
The 62-year-old resigned as Bayern president and chairman of the club's supervisory board on Friday and was a noticeable absentee for Saturday's 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
The European champions could be confirmed as German champions for the 24th time if they win at Mainz on Saturday and rivals Dortmund and Schalke draw. Bayern enjoy a 23-point lead at the top of the table.
Goals by Mario Mandzukic and Bastian Schweinsteiger saw Bayern enjoy their 16th straight league win and extend their record unbeaten league run to 50 matches.
Hoeness stepped down less than 24 hours after being sentenced to three and a half years in jail by Munich regional court having cheated the state out of €28.5 million (HK$308 million) in unpaid taxes.
He admitted to hiding his wealth in secret Swiss bank accounts while obsessively "gambling" on stock and currency markets for years.
But while Hoeness waits to start his time behind bars, the Bavarian giants already hope he will be back at the Allianz Arena soon.
"This club is one of the best in the world and that is down to the personality of Uli Hoeness," said coach Pep Guardiola.
"He deserves our respect. I hope he can come back in the future and help us."
On Saturday, Bayern named Karl Hopfner to succeed Hoeness as club president.
Herbert Hainer, the chief executive of German sportswear giants Adidas, takes over from Hoeness as chairman of Bayern's advisory board.
Both positions must be ratified by a vote on May 2 at the club's general assembly.
But Edmund Stoiber, head of Bayern's management board, implied there will be a role for Hoeness after his release.
"A door is always open and Uli Hoeness will always be the soul of the club," Stoiber said.