Ajax have agreed on a financial settlement with the family of Abdelhak Nouri.
Nouri collapsed during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen in July 2017. His collapse was due to heart arrhythmias. Ajax confirmed five days later that he had suffered permanent brain damage.
Although he left intensive care two weeks after the incident, Nouri’s fledgling football career was over. The midfielder didn’t wake from his coma until March 2020.
However, Nouri’s family were already in the midst of a legal battle with the Dutch club. In June 2018, an investigation carried out by Ajax found the medical treatment Nouri received on the pitch was “inadequate.”
Holding the club responsible, Nouri’s family believed a failure to resuscitate him quickly caused the brain injuries. After Ajax initially refused to accept any liability, the family filed a lawsuit through the Royal Dutch Football Association.
Abdelhak Nouri’s career was promising
An exciting product of Ajax’s famous academy, Nouri made his professional debut for their reserve side in 2015. Handed his first senior appearance for Ajax a year later, the Amsterdam-born midfielder netted on his debut against Willem II.
Going on to make 15 senior appearances across the 2016/17 campaign, Nouri was part of the Ajax side that reached the Europa League final. Runners-up to Manchester United, the Dutch side boasted talents like Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech.
Tipped for stardom with both Ajax and the Dutch national team, tragedy struck before Nouri could reach his full potential.
Following his collapse, tributes from across the football world flooded in for the Ajax man. One year after the incident, Ajax announced they’d renamed their ‘Talent of the Future’ award after Nouri. Many of Nouri’s former teammates have adopted the number 34 at different clubs in his honour.
Ajax agree on settlement with the family of Abdelhak Nouri
After terminating his contract in March 2020, Ajax announced they would agree on a settlement with Nouri’s family. Almost two years later, the two parties have finally come to an agreement.
Read: Frenkie De Jong shares incredible story of Abdelhak Nouri inspiring his Barcelona move.
In a statement posted to the club’s website, Ajax announced they had accepted liability for Nouri’s condition:
“As an employer, has acknowledged liability for the consequences. The agreement reached with regard to these losses concerns a net compensation of €7,850,000.”
Coming in at around £6.5 million, Ajax also confirmed the number 34 shirt would be retired in honour of Nouri.
Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar opened up about the situation:
“It is good that an agreement has been reached so that we can close this issue. We all realize that the suffering for Abdelhak and his loved ones is not over.
“The bond between Ajax and the Nouri family is a permanent one.”
Despite no longer being in a coma, Nouri still suffers on a daily basis with his condition. Speaking in 2020, his brother Abderrahim said:
“He’s just awake. He sleeps, he sneezes, he eats, he burps, but it’s not like he gets out of bed.”
“We talk to him like he’s not sick. We take him into our conversations and we watch football with him in the living room.
“You notice that he likes that very much. He often shows emotions. Sometimes, he is emotional, but often there is also a smile.”