Marc Overmars quits Ajax after "inappropriate messages"

The former Arsenal and Barcelona man steps down in the midst of several scandals shaking the sport

Harriet Metcalfe
4th March 2022
Twitter: @sporza
Director of football affairs at Ajax, Marc Overmars, left the role with immediate effect after consultations with chief executive Edwin van der Sar and the supervisory board revealed that "a series of inappropriate messages" were "sent to several female colleagues over an extended period of time"

In a statement, an "ashamed" Overmars, who had been in the position since 2012, said that: “Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that I was crossing the line with this, but that was made clear to me in recent days”, after having sent obscene pictures and messages to female employees.

“I suddenly felt enormous pressure. I apologise. Certainly for someone in my position, this behaviour is unacceptable. I now see that too. But it is too late. I see no other option but to leave Ajax.”

His departure is being overseen by supervisory board chair Leen Maijaard, who commented that “It is devastating for the women who have had to deal with the behaviour [...] When we heard news of this, we immediately acted, carefully deliberating and weighing what was the best thing to do, all in consultation with CEO Edwin van der Sar and assisted by an external expert.”

Former Holland team mate and Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Ser explained that he feels "responsible to help colleagues", as "a safe sport and working climate is very important", claiming that "we will pay more attention to this in the future".

However, Dutch newspaper De Telegraff reported that Edwin van der Ser and the supervisory board at Ajax knew about the allegations before extending Overmars contract in January, after Newcastle failed to convince him to move to the Toon. This resulted in a €1.25 million bonus for the director. Van der Ser claims that "we wanted to investigate this first before publicizing this or postponing the extension [...] Only later did we get a broader picture of the behavior and action was taken."

The former Arsenal winger could be banned from Dutch football for life, as his behaviour contravenes Dutch FA's regulations that "everyone working in the game in Holland must adhere to strict rules governing standards of integrity."

Reports have also suggested that following these events, EA are looking to remove Overmars from the upcoming FIFA 2022 release, where he is currently one of 100 'icon' players.

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AUTHOR: Harriet Metcalfe
English Literature BA student. Loves film, TV, books and coffee. Thinks "Thor: The Dark World" gets too much hate. Twitter: @hattiemetcalfe

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