Marc Overmars, 48, Ajax’s sporting director, has left his post for having sent “messages that crossed the limits of appropriateness to several female colleagues” over a long period of time. The phrase thus appears on the website of the Amsterdam club, which had been analyzing the situation for several days. Overmars himself says in the same statement that he did not realize that his behavior was perceived as such. Now, however, he admits: “For someone in my position there is no justification; I am embarrassed and I offer my apologies.” He also recognizes that he has realized it too late and that is why he leaves the club. Given the effect all of this has had on his private life, he asks that he and his family be left alone. During his time in charge, Ajax reached the Europa League final and the Champions League semi-finals.
“I did not see that I was crossing the limits, but I have understood it these days. Suddenly, I felt enormous pressure and I have no choice but to leave Ajax”, says Overmars in the statement in which he announces his resignation. Overmars has been married since 2013 to Chantal van Woensel, who was Miss Netherlands in 1995, and they have two children.
Former player of Ajax, Barcelona, Arsenal and the Dutch national team -with this he participated in 86 games- he retired at the age of 31 due to a knee injury. He had been working for the Amsterdam club for almost a decade, and his contract ended in 2024. This December was extended until 2026. He also had a good reputation in his work, since the current success was largely attributed to him. of the club. Business savvy, he had worked closely with manager Erik ten Hag and attracted Premier League players such as Dusan Tadic. Ajax won the league in 2019 and 2021 and returned to the big European games. He is also no stranger to the transfer to other clubs of figures such as Frenkie de Jong, Hakim Ziyech or Donny van de Beek for millionaire figures. Ajax’s coffers were thus made with a financial cushion – estimated at 300 million euros by the Dutch media – which increased his popularity.
Director of Football Affairs Marc Overmars will leave Ajax with immediate effect. He made this decision after discussions in recent days with the Supervisory Board and CEO Edwin van der Sar and communicated his intentions from him to them.
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) February 6, 2022
Ajax Supervisory Board Chairman Leen Meijaard has called the situation “a drama for everyone involved, and it is painful for the women who have had to put up with this behaviour.” Management claims that he acted immediately as soon as he learned what was happening and sought advice from an outside adviser. In his opinion, Overmars “has been perhaps the best sporting director we’ve ever had and all of this is very painful.” For his part, Edwin van der Sar, general manager of Ajax since 2016, has admitted that the situation is “dire for everyone”. “A safe working atmosphere is very important to us at Ajax, and we will look more closely in the future,” he said. He was one of the most famous goalkeepers in the Netherlands, as well as a former captain of the national team, and shared a sporting stage with Overmars. “Marc and I have been playing together since the early 1990s, and have been colleagues in Ajax management for almost a decade. We work to make something beautiful and this is a hard hit, but our ambitions remain intact, ”he added.
The management team has not yet provided explanations about the nature of the messages sent by Overmars, or about their recipients. “We don’t know how they are, or if they have participated in the preparation of the press release,” Marjan Olfers, a researcher on undesirable behavior in sport, told Dutch public television. She is the author of a report on this situation in the field of gymnastics, presented in April 2021. In it, this way of functioning is defined as “any form of behavior, whether verbal or not, physical or with a negative connotation. -whether or not of a sexual nature- that has the purpose of violating the dignity of the person, in particular when a violent situation is created, with manipulation or threats, hostile, abusive, humiliating or painful”.
The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has asked all victims of inappropriate behavior to report it. “It can be done anonymously, through the person of trust of the clubs, or directly at the federation.” Dutch clubs, for their part, are required to report such incidents to the KNVB.
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