Ajax promise change of culture after Overmars scandal

May 4 – Ajax Amsterdam have vowed to change their club culture and build a safe workplace for female employees following a report into Marc Overmars’ inappropriate behaviour.

The club tasked Bezemer & Schubad to analyse the company culture at the club and the agency confirmed that Overmars, Ajax’s technical director for a decade before his departure in February, engaged in inappropriate behaviour. Dutch media reported that Overmars had sent ‘dickpics’ to female employees of the club.

“A number of women within Ajax were confronted with undesirable behaviour,” said Ajax in a statement following the report.

“This ranged from bad jokes and derogatory or hurtful comments, to an unwanted arm over the shoulder and other pushy behaviour. The investigation also confirms the serious nature of Marc Overmars’ previously communicated behaviour. Several women have reported this. For the sake of completeness, the report also mentions two past cases of others involved.”

None of the victims came forward to file a complaint with the police.

Chairwoman of Ajax’s supervisory board Leen Meijaard said: “We are sorry that we were unable to offer these women a safe working environment. Together with the management and HR, we will work on the intended improvements. The various reports make it clear that there is work to be done, so that it is clear to everyone that undesirable behavior is not accepted and if something does occur, employees feel free to bring it up, call each other to account and report it if necessary.”

Ajax said that it will formulate a plan based on prevention, an internal reporting mechanism, more responsibility for the top management and raising awareness across the club.

In March, Overmars became the technical director at Antwerp. His new club said in a statement: “Antwerp applauds that Ajax wants to take concrete steps to create a safe working climate for all its employees. As previously reported, RAFC has been using a clear code of conduct for years and our club applies a zero-tolerance for undesirable behaviour in the workplace.”

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