More woe for Ajax as chairman ‘forgets to register shares’

Ajax’s chairman failed to declare his own shares in the club to the correct authorities, Dutch media said Friday, the latest in a string of scandals to hit the Dutch giants.

Michael van Praag had not registered his Ajax stock portfolio, around 100 shares, correctly with the AFM financial market regulators four months after his appointment, according to public broadcaster NOS.

Any registration is supposed to take place within two weeks.

“This is an administrative omission of a fact that was completely known to the market,” Ajax told NOS. “As soon as we realised, it was straightened out immediately.”

The club could not be immediately reached for comment.

The latest scandal is another blow to the four-time European champions that are suffering a horrendous season both on and off the pitch.

On Tuesday, the club suspended CEO and chairman Alex Kroes on suspicion of insider trading.

Kroes bought more than 17,000 Ajax shares a week before his intended appointment was announced on August 2, 2023, the club said.

Making matters worse, Van Praag had spoken out strongly against Kroes, saying he had been “incredibly naive” and that Ajax “was not a playground.”

But the frustrated Ajax supporters association did not take kindly to Van Praag’s comments given the state of the club.

The club actually does feels like a playground, “one full of landmines and where the swings are loose, the slide stops halfway and the sandpit is empty,” the association wrote on its blog.

Commenting on the latest blow, the supporters’ association said: “Even if the two cases cannot be compared, it is still embarrassing for Van Praag.”

“If you rant like that in the media about Kroes… then it is extremely painful if you then, even unconsciously, do not adhere to the rules.”

On the pitch, Ajax suffered their worst-ever start to a Dutch top flight season, briefly propping up the Eredivisie table, with fans’ frustration boiling over into violence.

The club of Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp, Ajax have fought back somewhat since those dark days but still sit in an unfamiliar fifth place in the Dutch top flight.

A humiliating 30 points behind arch-rivals PSV Eindhoven, four-time European Cup champions Ajax have some work to do to even qualify for European football next season.

AFP

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