Overmars loses appeal against global ban on working in football

Overmars preparing for a Champions League game with Antwerp in November. Photo: Belga/Virgine Lefour via ANP

Former Ajax director of football Marc Overmars has lost an appeal against a worldwide suspension imposed by the sport’s global governing body FIFA.

Ovemars, 50, was barred from working for two years at the end of last year by the Dutch sports disciplinary ISR when it ruled he had breached its rules on sexual harassment.

The ban, one year of which is provisional, was extended by FIFA last month to cover all the countries under its jurisdiction, forcing Overmars to step down from his duties at Belgian club Royal Antwerp until November.

The former Netherlands international player challenged the decision, claiming a worldwide ban was “disproportional”, but FIFA rejected the appeal. He still has the option of taking his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

Overmars left Ajax in February 2022 after he admitted inappropriate behaviour towards female colleagues, including sending intimate photographs of himself.

Last weekend NOS reported that the club twice approached Overmars in private to discuss a possible return to Amsterdam, the first just four weeks after his enforced departure.

Leen Meijaard, chair of the supervisory board, said in an official statement that Ajax condemned Overmars’s behaviour in the “strongest personal terms”.

But in private messages obtained by NOS, Meijaard struck a different tone. “Hey, Marc, can we make an appointment for March 4?” he wrote to Overmars. “Not to talk about money, but how you can make it up with the women.

“We need to do it, otherwise it will linger on. Let’s do it, because I love you and I know you didn’t mean it that way.”

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