It led here and there to frowned eyebrows and criticism, but Perez – former AZ and Ajax player – agrees with the Alkmaarders. “I think they are fully in their right. They are not stupid there, are they?” Says the Dane in conversation with Algemeen Dagblad. “That the media reproaches AZ for a kind of calimero behavior because the club is convinced that Ajax is always being favored, you should never stop taking such a step.”
AZ’s steps were a response to the infamous consultations between the clubs and the KNVB at the end of April: the league position was frozen, but Ajax seized spot one on goal difference. AZ therefore has to make do with a place in the second Champions League qualifying round, instead of (probably) a ticket for the group stage. “The starting premium of the Champions League is very high and if the KNVB leaves room for it with moderate arguments, you have to grab that space,” says Perez. “At least I am 100% sure that if Ajax had been in the same situation, that club would have done exactly the same.”
AZ will hear this week whether its legal action has been successful. If not, you will hear on August 10 who will be the opponent in the Champions League preliminaries: Besiktas, Viktoria Plzen or Rapid Wien.