Ajax managers get bonus, despite use of gov't Covid support
Despite making use of government support measures to get through the coronavirus crisis, Amsterdam football club Ajax still paid bonuses to its directors and managers, Financieele Dagblad reports. One of the conditions for state aid was that companies who receive aid can not pay bonuses to its management.
In the summer, Ajax applied for 4 million euros in aid through the NOW regulation, the wage subsidy scheme for entrepreneurs who suffered a loss in turnover due to the coronavirus, according to FD. The club's annual report showed that general manager Edwin van der Sar received 200 thousand euros and technical director Marc Overmars received 250 thousand euros as bonus "for sporting objectives". Commercial director Menno Geleen also got a bonus.
According to Leen Meijaard, chairman of Ajax's Supervisory Board, these bonuses were not banned by the state aid rules. "The bonus was awarded for qualifying for the Champions League in August 2019 and was paid out in September 2019," he said to the newspaper.
The Supervisory Board extensively discussed the topic of bonuses, also getting advice from lawyers and accountants, Meijaard said. "You have to realize that bonuses are no small thing for the management. It also played a role in the consideration when applying for government support."
Meijaard said that the confusion comes from the fact that Ajax has a broken financial year, which runs from July to July. The legal text for the NOW regulation states that when it comes to a broken financial year, the bonus- and dividend ban applies for the period June, July, August, and September 2020, according to FD.
Whether Ajax was entitled to the received emergency aid, and whether its paid bonuses were allowed, will be investigated. In the coming months, all companies who received state aid will be checked for whether they were entitled to it and met all the conditions. Those who weren't will have to pay some or all of the received aid back.