Soccer-Sponsor to end deal with Antwerp over Overmars appointment

ANTWERP, Belgium (Reuters) - A sponsor of Belgium’s Royal Antwerp says it will end its deal with the club over the decision to appoint former Ajax Amsterdam director Marc Overmars as technical director, little over a month after he left his job in the Netherlands over inappropriate behaviour towards female colleagues.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Finals and Semi Finals Draw - Nyon, Switzerland - March 15, 2019 Ajax director of football Marc Overmars before the draw REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Select Group, a personnel management agency, said it was surprised by the appointment which was against its values.

“As a permanent partner and sponsor of RAFC, we were neither consulted nor informed in advance,” it said in a statement.

“The decision to appoint Mr. Overmars, who was recently accused of repeated transgressive behaviour and who is currently subject to an independent investigation in the Netherlands, is directly against the values and standards of Select Group.

“However, we sincerely believe that after a conscious period of self-reflection, every person deserves a second chance. We therefore deeply regret that during the press conference (announcing Overmars’ arrival) there was no mention of this process of self-reflection, neither by the management of RAFC nor by Mr. Overmars himself.

“We have therefore decided not to renew our partnership with RAFC for the 2022–2023 season,” it added.

Antwerp presented Overmars, 48, as technical director on Monday, six weeks after the former Arsenal and Barcelona forward suddenly stepped down from his job at Ajax, as he admitted to “unacceptable” behaviour after it had emerged within the club that he had sent inappropriate messages and photographs to several women who worked there.

At his presentation at Antwerp on Monday, Overmars said the matters at Ajax had been appropriately dealt with and had not impacted his talks with his new employer.

“What has happened at Ajax won’t happen again,” he said.

“I am glad to be here. It is a new chapter for me. A beautiful challenge at a club where I see potential to grow.”

Antwerp general manager Sven Jaecques said he had not specifically talked to female workers at his club about the decision to sign Overmars.

“It is important to give people new opportunities and to turn the page,” he said.

Former Dutch international Overmars played for Ajax from 1992-1997 and became director in 2012. He had been re-appointed for a new term until mid-2026 shortly before his shock departure.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Nick Macfie