Disciplinary committee can permanently ban Overmars from participating in Dutch football
The Dutch sports tribunal ISR will investigate whether Marc Overmars should have to answer to a disciplinary committee. The recently departed director of football affairs at Ajax runs the risk of being suspended for life, and could be prevented from holding any job in Dutch football moving forward. That penalty would not apply to work opportunities abroad.
Ajax announced on Sunday evening that their collaboration with Overmars ended with immediate effect following his sudden resignation. According to the national champion, he sent sexually transgressive messages to several female colleagues over an extended period of time.
Some allegations were detailed in NRC, which interviewed 11 current and former female employees of the team. One of them said that “Sexism is the culture of the club.”
One woman told Parool that Overmars sent her unwanted dick picks, and displayed “stalking-like behavior.” Other women told NRC that Overmars would harass them with messages on WhatsApp asking what they were doing, who they were with, and what they were wearing.
Sports clubs in the Netherlands are obliged to report abuse cases to the ISR. These agreements have been made with all sports associations, including the Dutch football association, KNVB. Investigations into sports abuses are led by advocates who often work as prosecutors in their day-to-day lives. They have a team of nearly thirty independent researchers.
As far as is known, no victims have filed a declaration against Overmars with the police or prosecution service. If that happens, it can trigger a criminal investigation into the former professional football player. "We always contact the police in the event of serious crimes," said ISR director Henk van Aller. "If they open an investigation, most times we pause ours.”
Ajax has not yet reported the transgressive behavior of Overmars to the ISR. "But I understand that this will happen soon," Van Aller said.
In the previous calendar year, the KNVB received eighty reports about transgressive behavior in football. According to a spokesperson for the football association, it often involved verbal intimidation, bullying, abuse of power, and sexual intimidation. She was not able to say how many of the cases were for sexual harassment.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times