Ajax manager, technical head under fire

A report into problems at Amsterdam football club Ajax has heavily criticised managing director Maarten Fontein and technical director Martin van Geel, and called for the club to end its stock exchange listing.

The report, made public on Sunday night, says the club would be better served by a director who feels at home with football and is a proper figurehead. Fontein joined the club in November 2005 after a long career at Unilever.
Van Geel, a former professional player himself, was criticised for bringing in too many average players.
Ajax set up the committee to look at the club’s performance over the past 10 years in November 2007.
The committee recommended that Ajax adopt a clear management model: either a strong coach, who also serves as technical director or a strong technical director, who is in charge of the coach and decides all technical appointments.
Ajax’s 1998 launch on the Amsterdam stock exchange was also criticised. ‘Of course the club benefited from the €54m [raised at the launch],’ said Uri Coronel, who chaired the report committee. ‘But we recommend looking at ending the listing.’
The Volkskrant says that delisting Ajax would cost the club €37.5m at its current share price of around €7.50. Ajax itself owns 73% of the outstanding shares. Insurance group Delta LLoyd has 5.6% and private investor Adri Strating (5.3). The rest is in hands of small investors.
Club chairman John Jakke dismissed reports that Fontein has already been sacked. ‘Maarten Fontein is still employed at Ajax,’ said Jaakke. ‘Of course talks will be held with the people mentioned in the report. But if we have anything to say about personnel changes, we will do this in the usual way.’

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