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Soccer: Ajax decline invitation to honour women's team

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Ajax Amsterdam's women's team will not be honoured with a public celebration in the Dutch capital on Monday despite claiming the Eredivisie title, as club officials fear the poor performance of the men's team this season will solicit a lukewarm response.

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema had invited the triumphant women's team for a customary balcony ceremony in the city's famous Leidseplein square, but Ajax declined the offer, leading to a significant backlash.The Ajax women's team secured their third league title almost three weeks ago, and club officials believe the moment to mark the achievement has passed."We do not support the timing or the place," a club spokesperson told the Dutch website

Ajax are concerned any public celebrations would be muted given the poor performance of the men's side, "which would not be good for the image of women’s football".The men's team are third in the league with one fixture to play this season, and look likely to miss out on a Champions League place for the first time since 2009.

Feyenoord have already been crowned Eredivisie champions, securing the sole Dutch spot in the Champions League group stage. Second-placed PSV Eindhoven are three points ahead of Ajax and are favourites to claim a spot in the third qualifying round of the European club competition. "The lack of a celebratory mood around Ajax in general, which is linked to the performance of the men’s team this season, played a part in the decision," the Ajax spokesman continued.

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