Ajax have sacked director of football Sven Mislintat at the end of a turbulent week that culminated in the klassieker against Feyenoord being abandoned after supporters threw fireworks onto the pitch.
The Amsterdam club denied that the dismissal of Mislintat was linked to the investigation into his role in a controversial transfer deal and initially said the decision had been taken by mutual agreement.
Later on Sunday Ajax issued a revised statement saying the German had been removed from his post after “several attempts to restore broad support” failed. “This leads to unrest in and around the club, also due to the disappointing results,” interim CEO Jan van Halst said.
The club also faces sanctions over the abandonment of the match against Feyenoord on Sunday afternoon in the Johan Cruyff Arena after 55 minutes.
The football association KNVB will meet on Monday to decide whether to reschedule the remaining 35 minutes or award the match to Feyenoord, who were leading 3-0. They could also order the match to be replayed, but this is thought to be unlikely. A decision is not expected immediately.
Referee Serdar Gözübüyük twice had to suspend the game in the first half as fans threw objects including fireworks and plastic beer glasses onto the pitch. Mislintat was the subject of banners and hostile chants from fans who demanded his dismissal.
Riot police later had to use tear gas to drive back Ajax fans who tried to breach the main entrance to the stadium and smashed open a glass revolving door.
Last week the club ordered an independent investigation by a forensic accountant into the purchase of Croatian defender Borna Sosa, whose agent has a stake in a data analysis company founded by Mislintat.
The investigation focuses on whether Mislintat’s business relationship with the agent, Arthur Beck, breached conflict of interest rules.
Mislintat had been told to step back from his duties and stay away from the stadium during the investigation into his affairs, but was not suspended. The Telegraaf reported that the club feared legal reprisals from the German, who had only been appointed in May.
The newspaper also claimed that Mislintat had stormed into Ajax’s training complex on Friday demanding the sacking of head coach Maurice Steijn following the previous weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Twente Enschede. The result cemented Ajax’s worst start to a league season in 59 years.
Meanwhile, former head coach Louis van Gaal has dismissed speculation that he could return in a temporary capacity until the situation at the club is stabilised.
The 72-year-old, who won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995, is currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. “My health comes first,” he said.