Marc Overmars leaves Ajax after 'appalling' message scandal

Marc Overmars has resigned as Ajax Amsterdam's director of football after multiple complaints from female colleagues over inappropriate messages, the club confirmed on Sunday.

"A series of inappropriate messages sent to several female colleagues over an extended period of time underlies his decision to leave the club," Ajax said in a statement.

Ajax supervisory board chairman Leen Meijaard added: "This is a dramatic situation for everyone who is involved in any way. It is devastating for the women who have had to deal with the behavior. When we heard news of this, we immediately acted, carefully deliberating and weighing what was the best thing to do -- all in consultation with CEO Edwin van der Sar and assisted by an external expert.

"Marc is probably the best football director that Ajax has had. We upgraded and extended his contract for a reason. But, unfortunately, he has really gone over the line, so continuing as director was not an option, as he recognized himself. It is extremely painful for everyone. I want to express the wish that everyone involved is given the peace and privacy to process this."

"I find the situation appalling for everyone," Van der Sar said. "In my role, I also feel responsible to help colleagues. A safe sport- and working climate is very important."

Former Barcelona and Arsenal star Overmars had held the director of football position at Ajax for just under a decade and has recently been linked with a post at Premier League side Newcastle United.

"I am ashamed. Last week I was confronted with reports about my behavior. And how this has come across to others," Overmars said.

"Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I was crossing the line with this, but that was made clear to me in recent days. I suddenly felt enormous pressure. I apologize.

"Certainly for someone in my position, this behavior is unacceptable. I now see that too. But it is too late. I see no other option but to leave Ajax. This also has a major impact on my private situation. That is why I ask everyone to leave me and my family alone."