Three youth footballers in the Netherlands have beaten a referee to death during a match, following an offside ruling against their team. On Monday, the teenage players of the Nieuw Sloten football club were charged with kicking 41-year-old volunteer linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen in the head several times during the match in Almere near the capital, Amsterdam, on December 2. Nieuwenhuizen was taken to the hospital after the fatal assault and he was pronounced dead on Monday.
“How can 15 and 16-year-olds flip out like that? How were they brought up?” said Frank de Boer, the manager of Ajax Amsterdam football club. “We have to do something because that’s crazy.”Nieuw Sloten has expelled the arrested players and withdrawn the entire team from the league. The club has a previous record of violent behavior on field, and it recently received an official warning for fierce behavior toward another referee. Meanwhile, Joseph Blatter, the president of FIFA, has expressed his “sadness and distress.” “Football is a mirror of society and sadly, the same ills that afflict society - in this case violence - also manifest themselves in our game.” Authorities and famous football officials have demanded a cleanup on violence occurring during matches. “It’s already the second death this year in Amsterdam related to violence in football,” said Amsterdam’s commissioner for sport, Eric van den Burg. “It can’t go on like this.” Last season, over 870 violent incidents were registered in the Dutch football, and the clubs have admitted that only the nastiest incidents are reported. The Dutch Football Association has conducted a study that revealed referees and linesmen are victims of such assaults, and that players aged 15 to 16 from big cities are most likely to be aggressive. CAH/HSN