Richard Nieuwenhuizen, a Dutch football linesman, died after being beaten and kicked by youth players in Holland while he had been officiating a match in which his son was playing.
Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was rushed to hospital after being punched and kicked by players from the Nieuw-Sloten club.
His club, Buitenboys, announced last night on Twitter: “With great sadness we announce the death of our @Buitenboys linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen. Our thoughts are with his family.
“Our linesman Richard died at 17:30 in front of his family. This violence must stop on the pitch! £stopsenselessviolence.”
Marcel Oost, the chairman of Buitenboys club, told national broadcaster NOS: “You can’t believe this could happen. That kids of 15 or 16 are playing football, you come to watch and see something like that.
“He was glad to be a part of this club and proud of his son. This not just a tragedy for Almere and our club, but for Dutch football in general. This can’t happen on the football field.”
According to reports in Holland, three Nieuw-Sloten players aged 15-16 were arrested and taken into police custody.
The Amsterdam club has responded by banning the players involved in the incident, withdrawing from the league in which the game took place and temporarily suspending all their operations as a club.
A statement on the club’s website read: “The board of sv Nieuw-Sloten learned with horror of the death of the linesman of Buitenboys. We are deeply shocked by the fact that the match on Sunday degenerated so badly, with this result.
“We express here our sympathy, firstly to the family of the deceased person. Words fail us. In addition, we also express our sympathy to the Buitenboys club and all its members.
“We distance ourselves strongly from the behavior of the players who are responsible. As an association, when we were aware of wrongdoing, we apologized to Buitenboys.
“For our club, this is a huge shock, an event that touches all of our members. Violence should not be on the football fields, and certainly not against referees, linesmen and all those others who volunteer each year to enable over a million amateur footballers to play. We must do everything possible to eliminate these excesses.
“Nieuw-Sloten is an association with many youth members. Fair play standards and values are of paramount importance to us and we support the campaign by the KNVB against violence on the field.
“We will of course fully co-operate with the police investigation. We believe that those who are responsible for this act should be punished.
“We decided yesterday to take the team concerned out of the KNVB competition. Also, the persons to our knowledge responsible for this beating were immediately removed and can never become a member of our association.
“Obviously, the police are investigating the incident. We will report these persons to the KNVB once their involvement is officially determined to ensure a lifetime expulsion.
“For now we have suspended all our activities as a club. The training of all our teams for this week has been cancelled. After consultation with the KNVB, we have decided out of respect for the family of the victim that our teams will play no matches this weekend.”