Bayern membership numbers hit record levels

The Bavarian giants gained almost 30,000 registered members last season to move closer to Benfica, who have the most affiliates in Europe

Bayern Munich has announced a rise in membership numbers during 2012-13 that sees its fans now own 81.8 percent of the club.

The German treble winners saw their total increase by almost 30,000 last season to 217,241 registered members, moving them closer to Benfica, who boast the most affiliates in Europe with 224,000 members. 

Bundesliga rules state that all league clubs are required to have at least 51% fan ownership, but the recent rise makes Bayern the first German outfit to pass the 200,000 member mark.

Club president Uli Hoeness spoke of his pride at the progress the club have made and predicted that they will soon move above Benfica.

"We at FC Bayern are very proud of this sensational growth in membership in the space of just one year," he told the club's official website."If it carries on like this, it’s only a small step to becoming the biggest club in the world by membership."