AMSTERDAM (AP) — A Dutch appeals court on Tuesday overturned the appointment of Louis van Gaal as CEO of Ajax, a victory for board member Johan Cruyff and his fight against Van Gaal’s role with the club.
The ruling was the latest twist in an acrimonious boardroom battle between Cruyff and four other supervisory board members at the four-time European champion.
Amsterdam Appeal Court said in a written decision that other board members “deliberately put Cruyff offside” by appointing Van Gaal and another director, Martin Sturkenboom, in November without adequately consulting Cruyff.
Ajax indicated in a reaction on its website that the club could still try to reappoint Van Gaal.
Lawyer Peter Wakkie said that while the court ruled that the appointments of Van Gaal and Sturkenboom were not made according to club rules, it did not rule out that the possibility that Van Gaal could be reappointed following correct procedures.
Van Gaal coached a talented young Ajax team to the Champions League title in 1995, but fell out with Cruyff during his time at Barcelona. Cruyff’s glittering playing career began as a teenager at Ajax and he remains an influential icon at the club he helped turn into a European powerhouse in the 1970s.
Defending champion Ajax is struggling on the field this season and is sixth in the Dutch league standings.