THREE TEENAGERS ARE to be charged with manslaughter by Dutch prosecutors over the death of assistant referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen yesterday, reports Sky News.
The 41-year-old died from injuries received when he was beaten and kicked by a group of players after a football match on Sunday. He passed away in hospital at 5.30pm Monday, surrounded by his family.
His son was playing the match after which the violent incident occurred. Although the victim reportedly returned home after the attack, he later collapsed. Television station RTL said he suffered brain damage.
Police are due to charge three 15 and 16-year-olds from visiting Amsterdam club Nieuwe Sloten with manslaughter for allegedly beating the linesman shortly after the final whistle in Sunday’s match against Buitenboys in the neighbouring city of Almere.
Dutch media said the linesman had been repeatedly insulted during the match.
The victim’s club Buitenboys expressed its sympathies to the Nieuwenhuizen family, while the Royal Netherlands Football Association has cancelled all amateur football activities this weekend.
A minute’s silence will be observed ahead of all professional games, in honour of the volunteer assistant referee. Teams will also be required to wear black bands of mourning.
Bert van Oostveen, professional football director at KNVB said it was “inconceivable” that such acts could occur on the football field.
The team which the accused played for, Nieuw Sloten, has said it will cooperate with all police investigations. In a statement published on its website, the club said it will issue a lifetime ban on the players involved, and has pulled the team from the league.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter also expressed his sympathies over the tragic death.
“I would like to express my sadness and distress on hearing of the death of assistant referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen,” he wrote in a letter to the KNVB. “I was deeply shocked to learn of this tragic incident.
“Football is a mirror of society and sadly, the same ills that afflict society – in this case violence – also manifest themselves in our game. Nevertheless, I remain convinced that football – through the example set by the tireless efforts of people like Mr Nieuwenhuizen – is a force for good, and we must continue use its positive example to educate people against these wrongs.”