Marc Overmars: Ajax director of football leaves role after ‘inappropriate messages’ to female colleagues

February 7, 2022
Marc Overmars
Overmars joined Ajax as director of football affairs in 2012

An Ajax statement said the former Arsenal and Barcelona winger would leave “with immediate effect”.

The 48-year-old had been in the role since 2012 and had recently signed a contract extension until June 2026.

Overmars said he was “ashamed” and that his behaviour was “unacceptable”.

“Last week I was confronted with reports about my behaviour and how this has come across to others,” Overmars told Ajax’s website.

“Unfortunately I didn’t realise that I was crossing the line with this but that was made clear to me in recent days. I apologise.

“Certainly for someone in my position this behaviour is unacceptable. I now see that but it is too late. I see no other option but to leave Ajax.”

Overmars made more than 130 appearances for Ajax between 1992 and 1997 and won three league titles, the Dutch cup and the Champions League before joining Arsenal in 1997, where he won the double with the Gunners.

He spent 10 years as director of football affairs at Ajax with supervisory board chairman Leen Meijaard describing Overmars as “the best football director Ajax has had”.

“This is a dramatic situation for everyone involved,” Meijaard added.

“It is devastating for the women who have had to deal with this behaviour. When we heard the news, we immediately acted.

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

Former team-mate and Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar added that he found the situation “appalling for everyone”.

“I feel responsible to help colleagues,” he said.

“A safe sport and working climate is very important. We will pay more attention to this in the future.

“Marc and I have been playing together since the early 1990s and we have been colleagues for almost 10 years now. That has now come to a very abrupt end.”

Ajax are top of the Eredivisie after 21 games.

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