Edwin van der Sar quits as Ajax director after disappointing season

Edwin van der Sar had been a member of the board of the Amsterdam club since 2012. Nesimages/Michael Bulder/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Edwin van der Sar is stepping down as director general of Ajax after the team finished a disappointing third in the Dutch Eredivise, missing out on a Champions League place for next season.

Van der Sar, a former goalkeeper for teams including Ajax and Manchester United, as well as the Netherlands national team, had been a member of the board of the Amsterdam club since late 2012 and director general since 2016. His contract ran until mid-2025.

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"After nearly 11 years on the board, I'm exhausted," Van der Sar said in a statement Tuesday. "It doesn't feel good to have to make imminent decisions about the future of this beautiful club. Hence my decision to stop now."

He added further explanation on Twitter.

"After almost 11 years on the board, I am done. We have experienced wonderful things together, but it has also been an incredibly tough period," he said. "I am very grateful for the people I have met and worked with during my second career at Ajax, and what we have achieved and been through together.

"I feel the need to take some distance, to get some rest, and to do other things. It doesn't feel good to take decisions about the future of this wonderful club in the coming period. That is why I have decided to resign."

No successor was named. The club said the supervisory board has asked Van der Sar to continue work until August.

"We wanted Edwin to stay, but he had made his decision. We have to respect that," supervisory board chairman Pier Eringa said.

"The last season does not reflect the entire period that he has been in charge of Ajax. The club has seen a lot of success, has seen a lot of growth, and gained international exposure."

Ajax fired coach Alfred Schreuder in January after a disappointing start to the season and appointed former defender John Heitinga to replace him until the end of the season.

Schreuder had been hired to replace Erik ten Hag, who moved to Manchester United last year after guiding Ajax to Dutch league titles and the Champions League semifinals in 2019.