In a surprise move, former star player and coach Johan Cruijff is to return to Ajax to take charge of football policy, it was announced late last night.
His appointment is part of a shake-up at the Amsterdam football club, which will also see the three current supervisory board members step down at the end of the season, reports news agency ANP.
The reorganisation follows a highly critical report into the club’s management since it was launched on the stock market in 1998. The report highlighted serious management failures as part of the reason why the club has underperformed these past years.
Over the past decade Ajax’s purchases on the transfer market have largely been a failure and the club has wasted millions of euros on misguided talent schemes in Africa and Belgium. The last time it won the premier league was in 2004 and its performance in European competitions has declined steadily since the mid-1990s.
Ajax is to set up a new management structure. It is unclear what will happen to the current executive board, which also came under fire in the report.
With the appointment of Cruijff, it seems likely that Holland’s coach Marco van Basten will become the club’s new trainer when his contract ends after the European championship this summer. Van Basten is a good friend of Cruijff’s and also played successfully for Ajax.
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