Ajax says no to women’s team’s victory party, citing club morale
The Ajax women’s football team, which won the league title for the first time in five years this season, will not be given a public reception to celebrate their victory after all.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema had invited the team to a balcony ceremony on the Leidseplein – the traditional spot – but the club itself has turned down the offer.
“Ajax has asked the mayor to reconsider,” the club told news website Nu.nl. “We do not support the timing or the place.”
In particular, the fact the women’s team sealed the title on May 7 means momentum for a celebration has ebbed away, Ajax said. The club is also concerned that not many people will show up “which would not be good for the image of women’s football.”
In addition, Ajax said, “the lack of a celebratory mood around Ajax in general, which is linked to the performance of the men’s team this season, plays its part.” Ajax is currently in third place in the league and has been plagued by poor performance.
City officials say they are sorry about the club’s decision but that no celebration can take place without the club’s cooperation.
But supporters of women’s football slammed the club. Football writer Amber van Lieshout said the move was an “enormous shame”, while former player Merel van Dongen said “with friends like these, who needs enemies.”
“I am extremely disappointed in what is supposed to be my club,” she said.
The main Ajax supporters club AFCASC also opposed to the idea, saying the ‘the sentiment among our supporters surrounding this season’s sporting debacle does not allow for experiments like the proposed celebration for the women’s team.’
The supporters’ association also accused the mayor and council officials of making political statements.
No women’s team has ever had a public party after winning a Dutch league title.
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