READ ALSO. RECONSTRUCTION. Why the Antwerp players suddenly supported Marc Overmars with a banner
Marc Overmars had to leave as technical director of Ajax in February 2022 after inappropriate behavior. He had been sending dick pics to female employees for years. Barely six weeks later, Overmars started working in Belgium, at Antwerp FC.
But thorough journalistic research by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS shows that Ajax had already tried to rehire Overmars.
A second time, Overmars would have been asked for a return when his successor Sven Mislintat was fired, which took place at the end of September 2023, when Antwerp was in the Champions League group stage.
Twice it was Marc Overmars himself who held off the boat.
On March 4, 2022, less than a month after his forced departure, Leen Meijaard, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Ajax, invited Overmars to his home in Amsterdam.
“I went inside. He said that he had bought soup at the delicatessen on the corner,” Overmars told NOS. “And after that it went quickly. Within six seconds, apparently he was worried, he asked: Marc, do you want to come back this summer? I burst into tears, because I thought: what am I going through?! I had to resign. And then suddenly he says: We can’t live without you, hide away for a few months, take therapy and we will bring you back.”
“I do not deny that we have discussed it, a technical advisor role at Ajax,” Meijaard responds. “I do deny that it was a concrete proposal and that it was the focus of the conversation.”
In the days after the conversation, Overmars and Ajax board members, including general manager Edwin van der Sar, chatted on WhatsApp.
But Overmars calls Meijaard to tell him that he is not returning. “I have said: I don’t do it because everything is broken. My confidence was hard to come by.”
Overmars also sends a message to Danny Blind: “I called Leen. Not going to go back! Just wanted to thank you, because I know you stuck your neck out for me. Thanks for that. Who knows in 2, 3 years. I choose abroad.”
That foreign country is Antwerp FC, where Marc Overmars will be introduced as the new sporting director on March 21, 2022. Many wonder if that isn’t very fast. Overmars does not want to say anything about the transgressive behavior, and there will certainly be no apology to the victims. Overmars wants to turn the page.
Hero status in Antwerp
Antwerp takes the double and qualifies for the group stage of the Champions League. Overmars quickly gains hero status at Antwerp and the club absolutely does not want to lose him.
But Ajax would launch a second charm offensive. Overmars’ successor in Amsterdam, the German Sven Mislintat, makes a mess of things, is discredited and is fired at the end of September 2023.
Ajax is bringing back a number of familiar faces, including Danny Blind. He will not officially become a member of the Supervisory Board again until December 27, 2023, but will start working earlier and will sound out Overmars again, according to NOS.
Overmars rejects the offer. “I think if I had pushed through and said I was open to it, things would have been set in motion. But I want to stay at Antwerp FC. I really enjoy it here,” says Overmars in the NOS reconstruction piece.
On November 16, the possibility of a return to Amsterdam is no longer an option. Overmars will then be suspended for a year by the Dutch Sports Jurisdiction Institute (ISR). In January 2024, that suspension will be taken over worldwide by the World Football Association FIFA, a decision that Overmars will appeal against.