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Cruyff returns to Ajax in football policy role

Amsterdam (dpa) - Former Ajax Amsterdam playing great and coach Johan Cruyff is to return to the club in a technical role, the Dutch club said Wednesday.

Cruyff, 60, who won three straight European Cups with Ajax in the 1970, has confirmed he is willing to join the Amsterdam club, a spokesman said.

 Details of the position have not been released but it is believed Cruyff would be in charge of football policy. A statement said he would "give form to the technical side of Ajax's football policy."

   It comes as part of a management shake-up at the four-time European champions whose fortunes have slumped.

 Dutch commentators believe the return of Cruyff will heighten speculation that his friend Marco van Basten will take over as coach after leading the Netherlands at the European Championships in June.

 Ajax have not won the Dutch league since 2004. This season they crashed out of the Champions League in the qualifying round to Slavia Prague, and were then eliminated by Dynamo Zagreb in the first round of the UEFA Cup.

 As part of the changes, Ajax's board of president John Jaake Hennie Henrichs (technical affairs) and Joop Saan (financial affairs) have stepped down.

 The move for Cruyff came at a club's members' council meeting on Tuesday evening.

 It came three days after a special investigative committee presided by honorary Ajax member Uri Coronel, a former Ajax board member, presented a devastating report on Ajax's management.

 The report recommended far-reaching reorganisation of the club, urging among other things a restructuring of its managerial model before the end of the season.

 The report accused consecutive technical chief executives of failing to hire top-quality players, and said ties between fans and the club have loosened.

 The Coronel committee has also recommended that Ajax be withdrawn from the Amsterdam stock exchange, or that its stock be frozen indefinitely.

 Ajax has been registered at the Amsterdam exchanges since 1998. The report concluded that although the club profited from the 54 million euros (79.60 million dollars) this generated, the registration at the stock exchange currently works against the club.

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