Ajax to pay €7.85 million settlement to Abdelhak Nouri’s family over 2017 cardiac arrest
The family of Ajax player Abdelhak Nouri and the Amsterdam football club concluded a settlement agreement four and a half years after the player suffered a cardiac arrest during a friendly match against Werder Bremen in Austria. The Amsterdam football club will pay the family 7.85 million euros in compensation, Ajax said on Monday. It was already clear in November that the arbitration case against the team had been cancelled.
Nouri collapsed on the pitch during the match on July 8, 2017, when he was just 20 years old. Had a defibrillator been available and put to use, it would have given medics a clearer picture of how he should be treated, the team admitted in a report a year after the incident. Instead, Nouri was rushed to intensive care but it took too long before anyone focused attention on his heartbeat and the poor level of blood circulation. As a result, Nouri has extensive brain damage.
"If the defibrillator had been deployed, this would have shown that resuscitation could start," said the team’s director, Edwin van de Sar, when the report was released. "If that had been done, Abdelhak might have had a better outcome.” Ajax already accepted responsibility for the incident in 2018, but the family said the team dragged its feet when it came to agreeing on a settlement amount. The family filed an arbitration case as a result.
Since then, Nouri has received continuous intensive care around the clock. That situation has not improved in the last six months, according to broadcaster NOS. As part of the settlement, Ajax will also reimburse all costs related to Nouri’s care dating back to July 2017, and the team will continue to pay for his care into the future.
“We greatly appreciate the way in which the family takes care of Abdelhak day and night with a lot of love and attention. When I visit him, I am always welcomed with open arms by the family. That also applies to other Ajax colleagues and we appreciate that enormously,” Van der Sar said in a statement on Monday.
"It is great that an arrangement has been made between the family and Ajax,” attorney Lucas Hogeling told NOS. “This has given Abdelhak lifelong financial security.”
Nouri’s number 34 shirt officially retired
Ajax also retired Nouri’s shirt number, 34, which will no longer be used by its top-level team. “The bond between Ajax and the Nouri family will always remain. Not only because of the Abdelhak Nouri Trophy, which the family annually presents to the greatest talent at our trainings. Also because we have decided to give jersey number 34 to the Nouri family. At Ajax1, the number 34 will never be played again, unless the Nouri family and Ajax want to make an exception together,” Van der Sar said on Monday.
Nouri’s dressing room chair will also become a permanent fixture of the team’s fan shop. “We cherish the bond with people within the club as well as with the loyal supporters. Abdelhak will forever be associated with number 34, it was his promise to all supporters to ensure the 34th league title,” said Mohammed Nouri, the footballer’s father.
The family also plans to launch the Abdelhak Nouri Foundation in partnership with the team. The organization’s launch and its mission will be announced at a later date.