‘The culture of Ajax must change’ | Football

The football director resigned in early February after it became known that a number of women were reporting sexual cross-border messages had received from him. Bezemer & Schubad learned that Overmars actually sent these messages over a long period of time, talking to women who had experienced them as ‘unpleasant’ and ‘very unpleasant’.

“The investigation has made it clear that a number of women in Ajax have been confronted with unwanted behavior,” the club wrote on its website. “This ranges from bad jokes and derogatory or hurtful remarks, to an unwelcome arm around the shoulder and other intrusive behavior. No woman has filed a complaint. But they report it because it is clear they are bothered by it. All journalists report , that they have difficulty engaging in unwanted behavior with confidential advisers or in the organization because they are afraid of the consequences. “

Marc Overmars left Ajax in early February due to cross-border behavior.

Marc Overmars left Ajax in early February due to cross-border behavior.

Leen Meijaard, Chairman of the Board, says in response to the survey: “We are sad that we were not able to offer these women a safe working environment. Together with the management and HR, we will work on the intended improvements. The various reports make it clear that work must be done, so it is clear to everyone that unwanted behavior is not accepted, and if something happens, the employees are welcome to take it up, hold each other to account and report it if necessary. required.”

“We are grateful to the women who reported cross-border and other unwanted behavior with accompanying examples to the researchers. We understand that it has been far from easy, “said Meijaard.


Bezemer & Schubad have also drawn up an action plan for Ajax targeting the following pillars:

  • The approach to unwanted behavior must be implemented in a structured way and must be aimed at prevention.
  • Good reception and handling of reports of unwanted behavior by confidential advisers. They must be accessible, well-educated and well-known in the organization; the same goes for mediation options.
  • Formal complaints must be adequately dealt with by a complaints committee.
  • The responsibility for policy lies with the top management, and the top management must visibly and audibly commit to the policy.
  • Leaders, educators, and supervisors must familiarize themselves with the theme of unwanted behavior and be trained to tackle it through mindfulness training, including spectator training.

The report was submitted last week to the Supervisory Board of Ajax, which is the client for the investigation. The Board of Directors subsequently informed the management of the results. The researchers’ main conclusion is that the culture of Ajax needs to change, but that it has nothing to do with Overmar’s or Overmar’s behavior. No charges or charges have been brought against the director.


Main sponsor Ziggo believes that Ajax will take appropriate action following the investigation into the corporate culture of the club, which was carried out after the departure of football director Marc Overmars. “We are looking at the future and our partnership in a positive way,” says the main lender of the current head of the Eredivisie.

Ajax announced on Tuesday that they wanted to create a safer work environment for all employees. On the advice of a research agency, the club will set up a committee of experts. It must lead an independent and broad study and come up with an action plan to combat cross-border behavior in the workplace.

Ziggo has been the main sponsor of Ajax for years

Ziggo has been the main sponsor of Ajax for years

“The most important thing is that we reject any kind of cross-border behavior and that this is not in line with our company’s standards and values,” says Ziggo. “That is why we think it is essential that research leads to the necessary openness, transparency and cultural change. Following the departure of Marc Overmars, Ajax will also take important steps with the announced cultural program to guarantee a safe working and sporting environment. As the main sponsor, we think it is an appropriate initiative, and we look positively to the future and our partnership. ”

Ziggo has been the main sponsor of Ajax since 2015 and pays at least 9 million euros annually. On top of that, there is a maximum of 3 million euros in bonus. The company left room for speculation before a departure after Overmar traveled. “We can not yet predict what this means for our partnership,” Ziggo responded to the news that Overmars had been guilty of cross-border behavior for some time.

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