Marc Overmars leaves Ajax after sending “inappropriate messages” to female colleagues

Marc Overmars has departed his position as director of football at Ajax after it was found that he sent “inappropriate messages to several female colleagues over an extended period of time”.

The 48-year-old was named as director of football for the Dutch giants in 2012. During his playing career, he notably spent a three-year stint at Arsenal between 1997 and 2000, followed by four years at Barcelona.

In December, he signed a new deal with Ajax until 2026. He turned down talks with Newcastle United to take up a similar role following their Saudi Arabia-backed takeover last year.

What have Ajax officials said?

Following the departure of Overmars from Ajax, general manager Edwin van der Sar called the situation “appalling”. Supervisory board chairman, Leen Meijaard, said it has been “devastating for the women who have had to deal with the behaviour”.

Overmars said in a statement published on the club’s official website: “I am ashamed. Last week, I was confronted with reports about my behaviour and how this has come across to others.

“Unfortunately, I did not realise that I had crossed boundaries with this, but that became clear to me these days. I suddenly felt an enormous pressure.

“I offer my apologies. Especially for someone in my position, this behaviour cannot be justified. I now see that too. But too late. I see no other option than to stop at Ajax.”

Meijaard added: “When we heard noises about this, we immediately acted. It was carefully considered and weighed up what was the best thing to do, all in consultation with general manager Edwin van der Sar and assisted by an external expert.

“Marc is probably the best football director that Ajax has had. We have not upgraded and extended his contract for nothing. But unfortunately, he has really crossed boundaries, so continuing as a director was not an option. He saw that himself.”

Van der Sar said: “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.”

Who is Marc Overmars?

In addition to notable spells at Arsenal and Barcelona, Marc Overmars spent five years at Ajax between 1992 and 1997. He scored 36 goals in 136 appearances. The winger helped Ajax to win the Champions League in 1994.

His spell at Arsenal was immediately successful, winning three trophies in his first entire season. That included the Premier League title. Overmars famously scored the winning goal for Arsene Wenger‘s side in their 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

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After retirement, he took up a post as a youth coach at Ajax in 2011. A year later, he was appointed as the club’s director of football. It was a role he held until his departure this week.

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