AMSTERDAM, NL (CelebrityAccess) — At the start of the 2018-2019 football season, the Amsterdam ArenA will officially change its name to the Johan Cruijff ArenA in honor of the famed Ajax footballer who passed away in 2016.
“It is high time to give Johan Cruijff a worthy tribute and achieve the broadly supported wish Eberhard van der Laan has expressed on behalf of the city,’ says Henk Markerink, CEO of Amsterdam ArenA.
As a part of the name change, the 53,000-capacity stadium plans to unveil a new logo for the facility on April 25th, which, by a strange coincidence, is Cruijff’s birthday.
Planned changes to reflect the stadium’s new moniker include updates to signs, entrances, flags and uniforms worn by venue staff, Ajax said.
‘It both honors our greatest football hero and makes a big dream come true for Eberhard van der Laan [former mayor of Amsterdam who died October 2017],’ said city alderman for sports Eric van der Burg.
‘Johan Cruijff is the greatest football player that Ajax has ever produced,’ says Edwin van der Sar, Ajax general manager. ‘Partly thanks to him, Ajax is a big name at home and abroad so it’s nice that the stadium is named after him,’ van der Burg added.
Cruijff, who passed away on March 24, 2016, was internationally recognized for his contribution to the sport of football, as a player, coach, and benefactor through his Johan Cruyff Foundation, which provides football fields to disadvantaged youth in more than 22 countries around the world.
‘We are pleased with the news and very glad that the stadium will actually be called the Johan Cruijff ArenA from next football season on,’ the Cruijff family said in a statement about the name change.