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Overmars leaves Ajax after 'inappropriate messages' to female colleagues

02:10 EAT 07/02/2022
Overmars Ajax 2019
The former Ajax and Netherlands player has stepped down from his role after it was revealed he crossed boundaries with messages to club employees

Ajax director of football affairs Marc Overmars has left the club with immediate effect because of inappropriate messages he sent to female colleagues.

The 48-year-old, who recently signed a contract extension until 2026, has made the decision to step down from his role following meetings with CEO Edwin van der Sar and the club's supervisory board.

The director said he feels "ashamed" of his actions after it was revealed he had sent a series of messages to employees of the club.

What has been said?

"I am ashamed. Last week I was confronted with reports about my behavior. And how this has come across to others," Overmars said in a statement published on Ajax's website.

"Unfortunately, I didn't realize 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. Certainly for someone in my position, this behavior is unacceptable. I now see that too. But it is 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."

What have others said?

In his comments on the situation, supervisory board chairman Leen Meijaard said the revelations of Overmars' messages were "devastating for the women who have had to deal with the behavior".

He added: "Marc is probably the best football director that Ajax has had. We upgraded and extended his contract for a reason. But, unfortunately, he has really gone over the line, so continuing as director was not an option, as he recognized himself. It is extremely painful for everyone. I want to express the wish that everyone involved is given the peace and privacy to process this."

The club's chief executive, Van der Sar, described the situation as "appalling", telling the club's website: "I find the situation appalling for everyone and I agree with [supervisory board chairman] Leen Meijaard's words.

"In my role, I also feel responsible to help colleagues. A safe working climate is very important for everyone at Ajax. We will pay even more attention to this in the near future. Marc and I have been playing together since the early 1990s, first at Ajax and then with the national team and we have been colleagues in the management of Ajax for almost ten years now.

"That has now come to a very abrupt end. We are working on something very wonderful here at Ajax, so this news will also be a blow to everyone who cares about Ajax. But our ambitions remain the same."