Ajax has registered to take part in the BeNe League - which is the new women’s football competition – for the 2012-2013 season. After intense discussions with both the KNVB and the Centrum Topsport en Opleiding Amsterdam (Centre for Topsport and Training), it has been decided to have a professional women’s football organisation, which is operational at the start of the season, in close cooperation with these organizations. Ajax’s women’s selection will practice and play at the Toekomst sports complex.
Ajax is pleased to introduce Marleen Molenaar, who will take responsibility for the management. Molenaar (49) played football herself for six years with the Dutch national team, among others. She was also active for three years as the women’s football manager at AZ, winning the championship there three times. AZ stopped participating in women’s football in 2011.
“Football is my passion. I thought it was such a shame that AZ stopped, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to share and build my knowledge and experience in women’s football with Ajax. Ajax is an ambitious, big club, where I’m sure I’ll feel comfortable. The priority now is to choose the staff and selection as soon as possible. The team that Ajax will register consists partly of players from the KNVB’s Talententeam, and they’ll be joined by other players. It’s clear that a lot needs to happen in the next few weeks, but I’m optimistic about that. I’m really looking forward to starting on this.”
Ajax’s decision to move ahead with women’s football is in line with Ajax’s business plan, which was modified in 2009, and is supported by Ajax’s technical heart (Dennis Bergkamp, Frank de Boer and Wim Jonk). Ajax’s management (Henri van der Aat and Jeroen Slop) has had intensive meetings at every level during the last few weeks, and is pleased with the support coming from the association through the chairman of the board, Hennie Henrichs.
The key reason that Ajax hasn’t participated in the Women’s Eredivisie until now was the limited possibility to scout and train talented players itself, for its own team. At the same time, these are the pillars of Ajax’s football organization. The regulations surrounding this were amended in 2010-2011, and participation became interesting for Ajax. There are currently wider possibilities for the clubs to train and scout players themselves.
On behalf of management, Henri van der Aat said the following: “Women’s football is not only the fastest growing sport in the world, but, globally, it’s the biggest team sport for women. There were more than 50.000 spectators yesterday for the UEFA Champions League finals between Lyon and Frankfurt. That says a lot. We’re very pleased that it’s possible for us to participate in a way that fits with Ajax. We’ll need to work through the details in the next few weeks, and I expect that we’ll have more concrete plans to share after that time.”