Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer hopes Uli Hoeness "survives" prison after the 62-year-old began a three-and-a-half year jail term for tax evasion this week.
Hoeness’ lawyers confirmed on Monday that the former Bayern president had started his sentence in a Landsberg prison, 70km west of Munich, for failing to pay €28.5 million in tax on income that he kept in a secret Swiss bank account.
"I hope that he will survive all this and he gets out of prison without any problems,” Beckenbauer told Bild.
“This is a frightening situation for him. He's all about freedom and now he's all restricted and locked up in a small cell,” he added.
Hoeness, who was sentenced to jail on March 13 by Munich’s District Court, resigned as the club's president and chairman of the supervisory board before stating he would return to the club after serving his sentence.
And Beckenbauer, who will visit his friend in prison, is hoping Hoeness will be able to return to normal life once he completes his jail term.
“In his cell, he will understand now and (hopefully) regret that his offence was a serious fraud in the company,” the 68-year-old said.
“But if he has served his just punishment, then he also has the right to be like everyone else, or restored to society.”