THE HAGUE, Feb. 8 — Marc Overmars has left his job as director of football at Ajax with immediate effect for “having sent a series of inappropriate messages to several female colleagues over an extended period of time,” the Amsterdam club announced in a statement on Sunday night.
Overmars made the decision to step down after discussions in recent days with the supervisory board and CEO Edwin van der Sar.
“I am ashamed,” Overmars said in a press release. “Last week I was confronted with reports about my behavior and how this has come across to others. 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,” Overmars continued. “I apologize. 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.”
The 48-year-old Overmars, a former Dutch international and former Ajax, Arsenal and FC Barcelona player, had been director of football at Ajax since 2012.
Under his leadership, the club aimed to challenge the top European teams, with a semifinal berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League season a notable highlight.
“In my role, I also feel responsible to help colleagues,” van der Sar said. “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,” said the club’s CEO.
“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,” he added. – XINHUA