Overmars apologises but quits Ajax after series of inappropriate messages

February 7 – Marc Overmars has quit Ajax as sporting director over inappropriate messages, the Amsterdam club announced on Sunday. 

The 48-year-old former Arsenal, Barcelona and Holland winger had held the position for 10 years and recently extended his contract until 2026, but his role has now come to an abrupt end after his inappropriate messages and subsequent talks with the club hierarchy led to his resignation.

An Ajax statement read: “A series of inappropriate messages sent to several female colleagues over an extended period of time underlies his decision to leave the club.”

Overmars said that he was “ashamed” of his behaviour.

“I am ashamed. Last week I was confronted with reports about my behaviour and how this has come across to others,” said Overmars in a statement.  “Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that I was crossing the line with this, but that was made clear to me in recent days. I suddenly felt enormous pressure. I apologise.”

He added: “This behaviour is unacceptable. I now see that too. But it’s too late. I see no other option but to leave Ajax. This also has a major impact on my private situation. That is why I ask everyone to leave me and my family alone.”

Ajax supervisory board chairman Leen Meijaard described Overmars as “the best football director that Ajax has had”, but he added that “It is devastating for the women who have had to deal with the behaviour.  When we heard the news of this, we immediately acted, carefully deliberating and weighing what was the best thing to do.”

“Unfortunately, he has really gone over the line, so continuing as director was not an option, as he recognised himself. It is extremely painful for everyone.”

Under Overmars, who had a close relationship with Ajax chief executive Edwin Van Der Sar, Ajax reached the final of the 2017 Europa League and the last four of the 2019 Champions League. As a player, he won the Champions League with the Dutch club in 1995 and represented the Netherlands at four major tournaments.

Van Der Sar said: “A safe working environment is very important for everyone at Ajax. We will pay even more attention to this in the near future.”

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