Dutch Linesman Death: Teens To Be Charged

Dutch prosecutors say they will charge three teenagers with manslaughter for allegedly taking part in an attack on a linesman over a youth football match.

Volunteer linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen died in hospital on Monday, a day after he was beaten and kicked by players from Amsterdam team Nieuw Sloten.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen's own son had been playing in the game, which was held in the town of Almere.

Prosecutors said the three males, two 15 and one 16, would be arraigned on Thursday on charges of manslaughter, assault and public violence. Their identities were not released.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen's team, Buitenboys, have not announced the exact cause of his death, but Dutch TV station RTL said he had brain damage.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen left after Sunday's match and was not aware anything was wrong. He returned to his club later that night and collapsed.

"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," said Buitenboys chairman Marcel Oost.

"He did it every week. He enjoyed doing it. He was a real football man - he was always here."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a statement he was "deeply shocked" by Mr Nieuwenhuizen's death.

Dutch sports minister Edith Schippers said: "It is absolutely terrible that something like this can happen on a Dutch sports field."      

Parents and other volunteers regularly referee and officiate at sports matches involving their children in The Netherlands, where youth football and hockey is popular and well organised.

Anton Binnenmars, of the Royal Netherlands Football Association, said: "It is too crazy for words that somebody involved in a sporting hobby becomes a victim of this kind of aggression."

Police said they would not rule out arresting more suspects.

Nieuw Sloten said in a statement on their website they had banned the players involved and pulled their team out of the league. Such incidents "do not belong on a football field", the statement added.

The Dutch FA said all Nieuw Sloten's matches next weekend had been cancelled at the club's request.

The attack in Almere was even discussed at a news conference in Spain on the eve of Ajax's Champions League match against Real Madrid.

"You can't imagine it happening," said Ajax coach Frank de Boer. "That boys of 15, 16 years short circuit like that. You wonder about the parenting ... this is too ridiculous for words."

The death is almost exactly a year since a Dutch amateur footballer fatally kicked a 77-year-old supporter following a match.