Van der Sar hangs up his Ajax gloves after ‘incredibly tough period’

May 31 – Edwin van der Sar, the former Manchester United goalkeeper, has stepped down from his position as Ajax’s chief executive officer after enduring an “incredibly tough period”.

After 11 years, Van Der Sar leaves the Amsterdam club, saying he is exhausted. The decision comes shortly after the end of the Eredivisie campaign, where Ajax finished 13 points behind league winners Feyenoord.

“We’ve been through some very nice things, but it’s also been an incredibly tough period,” said Van Der Sar. “I am very grateful to the people I met and worked with during my second career at Ajax for what we have achieved and experienced. I now need to distance myself, relax and do other things.

“It doesn’t feel good to have to make decisions about the future of this beautiful club in the coming period. Hence my decision to stop now.”

In recent weeks, Van Der Sar has faced criticism following Ajax’s on-field struggles, resulting in a third-place league finish, their worst league performance in 13 years. As a result, Ajax won’t feature in the Champions League next season.

The former United goalkeeper also felt backlash after the departures of director of football Marc Overmars – over a sexual harassment scandal – and manager Erik ten Hag.

“We wanted Edwin to stay, but his decision was made and we have to respect that,” explained supervisory board chair Pier Eringa explained. “The past season is not representative of the total period of Ajax under his leadership.

“The current management will assume his responsibilities. Edwin will remain available for consultations and advice until August. We anticipate announcing the new management structure shortly after August 1. Our objective is to appoint an individual with an Ajax background to a senior position.”

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