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Ajax targets control of Johan Cruijff ArenA

Ajax is interested in acquiring a majority stake in Johan Cruijff ArenA, according to the Dutch Eredivisie football club’s CEO, Edwin van der Sar.

The 55,000-seat stadium is owned by the Government of Amsterdam, with Ajax currently paying around €10m (£8.76m/$12.13m) per year to rent the venue. However, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf has said relations between the club and ArenA officials has deteriorated over the past year.

Ajax is said to be seeking more control over stadium operations as currently all revenue from catering at Johan Cruijff ArenA goes to the operators while the club has restrictions on the ability to grant visibility to its sponsors at home games.

Van der Sar said: “The ArenA is not prepared to work well together, but a majority (stake) for Ajax could offer a solution to the financial and operational problems. The ArenA will have to adopt a different attitude towards Ajax in various areas.”

Johan Cruijff ArenA CEO, Henk Markerink, said there are talks taking place between Ajax and the Government. He added: “If you look from a distance, there is a nice stadium and a nice club. In a relationship you always have some ups and downs.”

In December, Johan Cruijff ArenA became the focus of what was described as a “groundbreaking” scientific research project into how sports venues and other buildings can become safely accessible during COVID-19.

The previous month saw Ajax appoint cloud-based ticketing solution SecuTix and its sister brand TIXnGO, the secure mobile ticket wallet, as its new ticketing technology partners.

Image: Rudolphous/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size