Dutch disbelief after linesman is killed by brutal attack over a game of football

Three teenagers accused of manslaughter by kicking official to death at youth match

The Netherlands was in shock today after a 41-year-old Sunday youth league linesman died from severe head injuries apparently sustained while being savagely beaten by a group of teenage football players in an apparently motiveless attack.

Richard Nieuwenhuizen collapsed and was taken to hospital hours after being beaten by three players from the Amsterdam youth club Nieuw Sloten on Sunday afternoon. Doctors said they had been unable to save his life and he died on Monday.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen had been officiating in a match against the rival Buitenboys club in the town of Almere and one of his own sons has been playing. He was set upon by three teenagers aged 15 and 16 after the game ended in a 2-2 draw. “It is unbelievable that something like this can happen,” said Marcel Oost, chairman of the Buitenboys club.

“Nobody can understand this lethal attack, there was actually no reason for it,” said Rob Mueller, a board member of the Buitenboys club.

Dutch police said yesterday that three teenagers from Amsterdam were to be charged with manslaughter, after their earlier arrest over what they described as an apparently unprovoked attack. “They are under arrest while investigations continue. They are allowed to speak to no one apart from a lawyer,” a police spokeswoman said.

Witnesses interviewed by the Dutch television channel RTL4 said that  several players ran up to Mr Nieuwenhuizen after the final whistle was blown. They said a group of them then attacked him and pushed him to the ground. One of the players, wearing football boots, was reported to have stood on his head. “Then he was kicked three times in the stomach,” one of the witnesses said.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen got up and the spectators, many of them parents of the players, gradually left the sports ground. Apparently not seriously affected by the attack, he stood on a touch line watching another game. “Suddenly he collapsed,” Rob Mueller, a board member of the Buitenboys club, told Dutch television.

An emergency doctor was summoned to the pitch and Mr Nieuwenhuizen was taken to hospital. When doctors noticed that he was unable to speak, he was transferred to a special neurological clinic. But doctors there said his brain was not receiving oxygen so they were unable to operate. They decided to turn off his life support system on Monday afternoon.

Mr Mueller said yesterday that play between the two teenage teams had to be interrupted several times during the match because members of the Nieuw Sloten side were becoming unruly. A press statement on the club’s website expressed “deep shock” over the incident. “Violence has no place on our pitches,” it added saying that the arrested teenage players had been expelled from the club.

“Of course, harsh words are spoken if a linesman’s decision is not agreed with,” Mr Mueller said yesterday. “But we have never experienced this level of violence,” he added.

The Netherlands, like many of its European neighbours, suffers from football violence. In Haarlem, a few miles away, another linesman was attacked during a match last Sunday afternoon.

A recent survey revealed that 51 per cent of Dutch players, spectators and referees had experienced verbal threats while 32 per cent had experienced soccer related physical violence on and off the pitch.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own