Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Ajax cancel Abdelhak Nouri's contract days after player wakes from 32-month coma

Moroccan winger suffered a heart attack in July 2017 and the club have previously admitted providing 'inadequate' on-field medical treatment

Abdelhak Nouri spent two years in the Ajax senior squad before his heart attack in the summer of 2017. EPA
Abdelhak Nouri spent two years in the Ajax senior squad before his heart attack in the summer of 2017. EPA

Dutch champions Ajax have formally cancelled the contract of Abdelhak Nouri, the Moroccan footballer who recently woke up from a coma nearly three years after suffering a heart attack playing in a pre-season friendly.

Ajax have continued to pay his salary since that fateful day in July, 2017, but have now terminated the contract, which was due to automatically renew on July 1, Dutch media reported on Tuesday.

The club are reportedly in talks with Nouri’s family about a future solution for the player, who has been moved to a specially adapted room at his home after years in hospital, the daily De Telegraaf reported.

There has been a lengthy dispute between Ajax and Nouri’s family, who are looking for a settlement after the club previously admitted providing "inadequate" on-field medical treatment after the midfielder collapsed during a pre-season friendly against German club Werder Bremen in Austria.

Recent reports claim Ajax have offered around £4.5 million to the Nouri family in compensation, although the family are reportedly demanding more.

Despite being revived on the pitch and airlifted to a hospital, he suffered serious and permanent brain damage.

"We recognise our responsibility and liability for the consequences of this," Ajax’s general manager Edwin van der Sar said in 2018.

The Dutch club said it had sought an external opinion during the incident and acted accordingly but further investigations showed that a defibrillator should have been used.

After 32 months, it was announced on Friday that Nouri had woken from his coma, his brother Abderrahim saying on Dutch television: “He has not been home very long; we take care of him there now.

“I must say that since he is at home it is going much better than before in the hospital. He is aware of where he is. He is back in a familiar environment with his family. He’s no longer in a coma. He’s very bedridden and still very dependent on us.”

Nouri, born in Amsterdam to Moroccan parents, made 15 appearances for Ajax in his debut 2016-17 season while still a teenager. He is now 22.

Updated: March 31, 2020 02:20 PM

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