Dutch teens get life ban for beating football linesman to death
Five boys, aged 15-17 at the time of the offence, were each handed two-year jail sentences in June 2013 for the death of assistant-referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen — and faced a disciplinary hearing before the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) once all legal procedures were finalised.
“Four of the five footballers will lose their memberships. This means they’ll never be able to play again as KNVB members,” the national football federation said in a statement.
A fifth youngster was handed a 60-month suspension because he “took responsibility for his actions and showed remorse for the harm done to Nieuwenhuizen’s family,” the KNVB added.
Nieuwenhuizen, 41, died a day after he was viciously assaulted on December 2, 2012 by enraged youth players after officiating in a match near Amsterdam in which one of his sons was playing.
A Dutch court jailed a 51-year-old adult at the time for six years, while the five teens were sent to youth detention units for the maximum of two years, six months suspended. A sixth adolescent convict was sent to a youth detention unit for a year with two months suspended.
The four players received “the maximum penalty in a football disciplinary hearing,” said the KNVB, which controls amateur and professional football in the Netherlands.
Those convicted were all connected to, or were members of, the Nieuw Sloten football club, which was playing against Nieuwenhuizen’s Buitenboys Club in Almere, just east of Amsterdam, when the attack occurred.
Nieuwenhuizen officiated as a linesman in the under-17 match and was set upon immediately afterwards by members of the Nieuw Sloten club. He was kicked several times in the head but got up and went home.
He became ill a few hours later and died the following day in hospital with his family at his side.
Nieuwenhuizen’s death led to much soul-searching in the Netherlands, where 1.2 million people out of a population of 17 million are KNVB members.
Afterwards signs were put up around the country declaring: “Zonder respect geen voetbal” (Without respect, no football).