Former German footballer and the honorary president of FC Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeneß, has expressed that he does not harbor any regrets over his critical remarks about the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. He made these comments during the funeral service of his late friend, Franz Beckenbauer. In the course of his speech, Hoeneß shared his vivid memories of the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted by Germany. He reminisced about the patriotic fervor that enveloped the nation, about the proud German fans, and about the streets adorned with black, red, and gold flags. However, he was quick to clarify that his national pride should not be misconstrued as support for the AfD’s ideology.
Hoeneß, who is 72 years old, admitted in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” that he had initially grappled with the idea of making such a statement at a funeral service. However, the importance of the message propelled him to do so, and he affirmed that given another chance, he would not hesitate to express the same sentiments. He further emphasized that he would like Germany to relive the World Cup atmosphere but without the AfD’s involvement.
During the memorial service held at Munich’s Allianz Arena, Hoeneß’s comments were greeted with spontaneous applause from those present at the ceremony. He stated his desire for Germany to recreate the camaraderie and unity of the World Cup, but without the AfD’s presence, pointing out his concerns about their rising popularity in the polls.
Hoeneß confessed that the increasing influence of the AfD party in the nation’s political landscape had not registered with him until recently. As a habit, he often watches documentaries on news channels in the evening, particularly those about the Nazi era, Auschwitz, and Birkenau. These documentaries evoke strong emotions in him, triggering concerns about the country’s direction and the possibility of history repeating itself. He strongly believes that such a scenario should never occur in the future.
Hoeneß also shared his views on the relationship between sports and politics. He opined that, as a rule, sports should steer clear of political issues. However, he also acknowledged that certain fundamental matters necessitate commentary from the sports world. This belief was the primary reason behind his decision to speak up against the AfD during the memorial service.