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Uli Hoeness accepts jail term and resigns from Bayern Munich

updated 6:28 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has said he won't appeal tax evasion sentence
  • Lawyers initially intimated the former German international would appeal
  • Hoeness has been sentenced to three years and six months in jail
  • Bayern great resigns from club president and board chairman roles

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(CNN) -- The president of one of the world's most famous football clubs has decided not to appeal a jail sentence for tax evasion as he stepped down from key roles at the reigning German and European champions Bayern Munich.

Germany and Bayern legend, Uli Hoeness, who resigned from his post as president and board chairman, was found guilty by a German court Thursday and sentenced to three years and six months.

"After discussing the matter with my family I have decided to accept the judgment passed by Munich District Court (Landgericht) II regarding my tax affairs," he said in a statement released on the Bayern Munich website.

"Evading tax was the biggest mistake of my life. I accept the consequences of this mistake," he continued.

"Furthermore I hereby resign the offices of president of FC Bayern München e.V. and chairman of the FC Bayern München AG supervisory board with immediate effect."

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Hoeness' lawyer had initially intimated that the 62-year-old would appeal the sentence.

During the trial, Hoeness admitted to evading €28.4 million ($39.6 million) in taxes on income earned in secret Swiss bank accounts.

He was originally charged with evading €3.5 million ($4.87 million) but that amount increased to $39.6 million during the court process.

State prosecutor Achim von Engel had called for a prison sentence of five-and-a-half years for Hoeness on seven counts of tax evasion.

Hoeness thanked friends and colleagues for their backing, before pledging his continued support for Bayern.

"FC Bayern München is my life's work and will always remain so. I will continue to be associated with this magnificent club and its people in other ways for as long as I live."

"I wish to thank from the heart my personal friends and all followers of FC Bayern München for your support."

Hoeness played for Bayern from 1970-1979 before retiring through injury aged 27.

Despite that truncated playing career, he won the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup with West Germany and three successive European Cups with Bayern.

Subsequently he was appointed general manager of Bayern, who won last year's Champions League final at Wembley after beating German rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Read: Keeping Franck Ribery saved Bayern Munich

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