Michael van Praag is not happy with the way in which AZ has tried to get a direct Champions League ticket. According to the UEFA director and former KNVB chairman, the Alkmaarders damaged him.

"They have questioned my integrity, but have also started complaining to UEFA behind my back," said 72-year-old Van Praag in an interview with the AD on Wednesday .

"Apparently purely to discredit me. A very sneaky game. If they disagree with me, or hate me: fine. But play the game with an open mind."

According to Van Praag, AZ has approached UEFA secretly and as a UEFA director he was approached by colleagues about this. He informed AZ director Robert Eenhoorn in an e-mail that he did not think this procedure was proper.

Van Praag's mail then reached UEFA - AZ allegedly claimed that the private message from the former Ajax president was in violation of the rules within the European football association - and later in the media.

Robert Eenhoorn, AZ's general manager. (Photo: Pro Shots)

'Just call me'

"I consciously avoid public appearances that could hinder my successors," said Van Praag. "But I send one personal email to Eenhoorn and AZ secretly passes it on to UEFA and to Quote . What are those pranks? Just call me if you disagree with me."

"I think people have started to take AZ less seriously because of this action than that it has contributed anything. It has definitely not been good for the image of the club. A shame. And that also applies at international level."

AZ informs the AD that all questions the club had "have been submitted to UEFA in all openness" and does not want to go into the matter further. The protest of the club did not help: AZ 'just' plays in the second heat of the Champions League, in which Viktoria Plzen is the opponent.