Marc Overmars leaves Ajax over ‘inappropriate messages’ to female colleagues

Tottenham Hotspur v Ajax – UEFA Champions League – Semi Final – First Leg – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Marc Overmars has left his role at Ajax after sending a series of “inappropriate messages” to female colleagues, the Dutch giants have announced.

Director of football affairs Overmars has stood down after discussions with chief executive Edwin van der Sar and the supervisory board following reports of alleged misconduct.

A statement on Ajax’s official website said: “Director of football affairs Marc Overmars will leave Ajax with immediate effect.

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“He made this decision after discussions in recent days with the supervisory board and CEO Edwin van der Sar and communicated his intentions to them.

“A series of inappropriate messages sent to several female colleagues over an extended period of time underlies his decision to leave the club.”

Former Ajax, Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Overmars, who had been in his post since the summer of 2012, admitted his behaviour had been “unacceptable” and issued an apology.

The 48-year-old said: “I am ashamed. Last week I was confronted with reports about my behaviour and how this has come across to others.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t realise 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 behaviour 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.”

Edwin van der Sar

Edwin van der Sar admitted Overmars’ departure was necessary (John Walton/PA)

Supervisory board chairman Leen Meijaard said Overmars’ behaviour had been “devastating” for the women involved, and admitted there was little option but for “probably the best football director that Ajax has had” to leave.

Former Holland team-mate Van der Sar added: “I find the situation appalling for everyone and I agree with Leen Meijaard’s words.

“In my role, I also feel responsible to help colleagues. A safe sport and working climate is very important. 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 10 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.”

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