Ajax player apologises for lack of sportmanship

Ajax centre back Joel Veltman is coming under fire after displaying what many people believed to be very poor sportsmanship in a Eredivisie match against Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday.

Veltman made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he tried to capitalise on Bertrand Traore’s injury in order to send a cross into the box.

With his opponent Ivan Calero ready to challenge for the ball, Veltman appeared to signal to Calero that he would stop play in order to allow Traore to undergo treatment for an injury.

But having diverted Calero’s attention away to Traore, Veltman suddenly decided to keep playing, charging past his opponent rather than kicking the ball out of play.

The incident went viral on social media, leading to plenty of criticism for Veltman, who initially defended his actions and claimed the reaction was overblown.

“I was just being clever,” he told Metro.

“Bertrand went down and I thought to myself ‘I am going to use this to my advantage’. I pretended to kick the ball out of play, but when my opponent looked behind him, I just went past him instead.

“I know that it was perhaps not the most beautiful thing to do, but it was just something clever, nothing more. I can have a good laugh about it.

“My team-mates told me in the dressing room that they would have kicked me hard had I pulled off something like this against one of them… What would I have done had my cross resulted in a goal? A goal is a goal!

“I think people are exaggerating all this a bit. It was not like I found myself one-on-one with the goalkeeper after it.”

But after appearing defiant at first, Veltman took to his Twitter account on Monday to issue a direct apology for his actions.

“Coming back on my action and reaction in regards to yesterday’s game against Sparta, and in particular to Iván Calero,” said the 25-year-old, “my sincere apologies! Looking back, I should not have done this.”