He sent inappropriate messages to women colleagues. Now soccer great Marc Overmars has been banned from world football

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (12860296ac)
Antwerp's new director of football Marc Overmars pictured at a press conference of Belgian soccer club Royal Antwerp FC, Monday 21 March 2022 in Antwerp.
Soccer Jpl Royal Antwerp Fc Press Conference, Antwerp, Belgium - 21 Mar 2022

Overmars is currently Royal Antwerp’s technical director.ShutterstockCNN — 

Former Dutch international Marc Overmars has been handed a global ban from holding a post in soccer after a suspension issued in the Netherlands was extended by the sport’s world governing body FIFA.

Overmars left his position as Ajax’s Director of Football Affairs, which he had held for 10 years, in 2022 after sending inappropriate messages to female colleagues. At the time he said that he was “ashamed” of his “unacceptable behavior,” acknowledging he later realized he was “crossing the line.”

An independent sports tribunal last year banned Overmars, who played for Ajax, Arsenal and Barcelona during his playing career, from any position in Dutch football for two years over the incidents, with one year suspended, Reuters reported.

The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) commented at the time it had “a duty to report this sanction to FIFA’s disciplinary committee … which has decided to take over the suspension as of Nov. 16, 2023,” per Reuters.

ALMELO, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 30: (BILD OUT) Sporting director Marc Overmars of Ajax Amsterdam looks on prior to the Dutch Eredivisie match between Heracles Almelo and Ajax at Erve Asito on October 30, 2021 in Almelo, . (Photo by NESImages/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Marc Overmars quits Ajax after sending inappropriate messages to female colleagues

“FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to extend the sanction imposed by KNVB on Mr Marc Overmars to have worldwide effect,” a FIFA spokesperson confirmed to CNN in a statement on Wednesday.

It’s not clear when Overmars’ worldwide ban will end, and FIFA didn’t reply to CNN’s request to confirm that timeline.

CNN has reached out to Overmars’ representatives and also Belgian side Royal Antwerp, where the 50-year-old is technical director, for comment.

A spokesperson for Overmars said on Tuesday evening that they had “just been informed” about the ruling of the FIFA disciplinary committee. They still have to study the substantiation, “and that is why we are not responding at this time,” according to Dutch newspaper NRC.

At the time of his appointment at Antwerp, Sven Jaecques, the club’s general manager, said: “It is important to give people new opportunities and to turn the page,” while Overmars promised that, “What has happened at Ajax won’t happen again.”

“I am glad to be here,” added Overmars. “It is a new chapter for me. A beautiful challenge at a club where I see potential to grow,” he said at the time of his appointment, which came little more than a month after his departure from Ajax.

Controversial appointment

Subsequently, the Select Group – a personnel management agency – said it would end a sponsorship deal with the Belgian club over the decision, which it said was “directly against the values and standards” of the organization.

The group added in a 2022 statement: “We sincerely believe that after a conscious period of self-reflection, every person deserves a second chance.

“We therefore deeply regret that during the press conference the moment was missed to serenely, cautiously and deliberately testify to this process of self-reflection and the insight acquired, neither by the management of RAFC nor by Mr Overmars himself.

“We have also not heard or seen any care in communication or careful handling of the problem.”

The Flemish Minister of Sports, Ben Weyts, also questioned Overmars’ appointment by Antwerp at the time – “if only out of respect for the victims” – according to Dutch newspaper NRC.

However, whether FIFA’s ruling will affect Overmars’ ability to work in football remains to be seen.

Marjan Olfers, professor of sports and law at the Free University in Amsterdam told Dutch broadcaster NOS: “FIFA now says: You don’t belong in the football family. But FIFA does not supersede Belgian labor law.

“So now the question is what it says in Overmars’ contract. When an athlete is suspended for doping cases, it is often stated in the contract that it will be immediately dissolved. But we don’t know what kind of linkages there are in his contract, and so if this has labor law implications,” Olfers added.

Overmars spent https://sukaati.com five years as player at Ajax between 1992 and 1997 before a move to English Premier League club Arsenal, where he spent three years.

The winger then transferred to Barcelona in 2000 to become the most expensive Dutch footballer of all-time.

With 86 appearances for the Dutch national team, he is the 15th most capped player in Netherlands history.

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