Ajax reaches $8.9 million compensation agreement with family of Appie Nouri

Nouri collapsed during a preseason friendly against Werder Bremen in the summer of 2017, suffering serious and permanent brain damage as a result.

Appie, as he is known among his former teammates, was just 20 years old when he was placed into an induced coma.

“Ajax later confirmed that Nouri’s medical care in the vital phase on the pitch was not adequate and, as an employer, has acknowledged liability for the consequences,” the club said in a statement.

“The Nouri family and Ajax have now reached an agreement on the compensation to be paid by the club. The proceedings brought by the Nouri family before the KNVB Arbitration Committee have been terminated as a result of this amicable settlement,” Ajax added.

“In the arbitration proceedings, the extent of the damage, due to, among other things, the loss of labor capacity and compensation for damages, was the subject of discussion. The agreement reached with regard to these losses concerns a net compensation of €7,850,000.”

In the statement, the club said it has also been reimbursing the family the costs incurred for Nouri’s care since the incident and will continue to do so.

“It is good that an agreement has been reached, so that we can close this issue,” Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar said. “We all realize that the suffering for Abdelhak and his loved ones is not over. It remains a very sad situation, that’s how we feel here at Ajax, too.

“We greatly appreciate the way in which Abdelhak’s family cares for him day and night with a lot of love and attention. When I visit him, I am always welcomed with open arms by the family. That also applies to other Ajax colleagues and we greatly appreciate that.

“The bond between Ajax and the Nouri family is a permanent one.”

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Van der Sar added that Nouri’s No. 34 shirt has been retired by the club — meaning no player will wear it again — and given to the former footballer’s family.

“This summer, it will be five years since Abdelhak was struck by a terrible fate,” Nouri’s father, Mohammed, said. “The past few years have been dominated by his care.

“In addition to all the difficult moments, this has also resulted in a lot of meaningful things for us. Especially the realization that, for many people, Abdelhak is a personification of togetherness and brotherhood. That is a very comforting thought.

“The involvement and commitment of Ajax has also been extremely important [during] said years. Ajax has been an inseparable part of our lives since Abdelhak was very young. We cherish the bond with people within the club as well as with the loyal supporters.”

In 2018, his family said they were encouraged by small improvements in his condition as he began to wake up, and Nouri has since returned to a specially adapted home.
Tributes placed near the hospital where Abdelhak Nouri received treatments.

Despite being able to communicate by smiling and raising his eyebrows, Nouri is still bedridden, his brother Abderrahim said in 2020.

“He’s just awake. He sleeps, he sneezes, he eats, he burps, but it’s not like he gets out of bed,” he said on Dutch television series ‘De Wereld Draait Door’ on Thursday.

“We talk to him like he’s not sick. We take him into our conversations and we watch football with him in the living room, for example. Then he watches.

“You notice that he likes that very much. He often shows emotions. Sometimes, he is emotional, but often there is also a smile. That does us good. That makes you really appreciate a smile.”

Ben Church and Martijn Edelman contributed to this report.

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