Ajax CT reach out to Ajax Amsterdam
Posted: 15 November 2012 Time: 17:24
Ari Efstathiou, Ajax Cape Town board member, says the local shareholders are reaching out to Ajax Amsterdam to mediate in the management dispute.
Efstathiou also reveals that the local shareholders are backing former Golden Arrows coach Muhsin Ertugral to take over the reins from Jan Pruijn.
Efstathiou, the chairman of Cape Town Stars, says the local shareholders in Ajax Cape Town have decided to ask Ajax Amsterdam to agree to mediation process to resolve the deadlock between the parties.
"We believe mediation is the way forward. We're hopeful that Ajax NV will come to the party and find a solution so our fans and players can keep the focus where it needs to be – on the football," Efstathiou says.
"This team should be winning. It's not, because our input is being ignored. The results show that the current management has made some fundamental mistakes – without accountability. Technical management and the CEO can't keep shifting the blame."
Efstathiou, who sits on the Ajax CT board, reassures fans that everything is being done to protect the club and its future.
"Ajax Cape Town is bigger than those who have shares in it – the club is really owned by its fans – so the rumours some are circulating are just reckless and unfair to our loyal fans."
Efstathiou says the Dutch club would be asked to nominate a neutral mediator to help the parties sit down around the same table and resolve their differences.
"Mediation is a win-win process," he says. "It's not like a court case where there is inevitably a loser."
Efstathiou says mediation is yet another attempt to get the club back on track.
"We have spent the past three years fighting to save the integrity of the club. We've travelled to Amsterdam twice for talks in recent years.
"We've gone down a long road with all involved – even [honorary life chairman] John and [CEO] George Comitis have discussed the sale of their stake in the club as a solution. Three weeks ago the Dutch offered to fund the Comitis' acquisition of the full stake in the local shareholder. We're still waiting for them to get back to us."
Efstathiou says talk about liquidation is deflecting attention from the need to fix management problems at the club: "There is, ironically, a liquidation application brought in the WC High Court by the Comitis brothers in May 2011, which is still pending – and if they succeed it will most likely mean the 49 percent local shareholding will be offloaded to another unknown entity."
Efstathiou also pays tribute to the club's fans, staff and players, "who don't deserve to be used as pawns in an attempt to sensationalise a dispute between the club's owners".
"There is urgent on-the-field business to attend to, as poor player acquisitions, the selling of key players and the appointment of inexperienced coaching staff has resulted in the team lying near the bottom of the log.
"The club needs to appoint a suitable coach who has African and local PSL experience, and who is familiar with the club, so as to ensure a smooth transition. I'm certainly in favour of Ertugral – he's always had our vote as the local shareholder."