Europe news

Blatter shocked at linesman's death

December 4, 2012
By ESPN staff

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has expressed his shock after Dutch linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen was attacked and killed during a match on Sunday.

The 41-year-old was officiating as part of his affiliation to Dutch youth club Buitenboys before he was set upon by players from Nieuw-Sloten.

All amateur fixtures have been postponed this weekend as a mark of respect to Nieuwenhuizen as Dutch prosecutors confirmed three youths, two aged 15 and one 16, will be charged with manslaughter, assault and public violence.

Blatter said in a statement on Tuesday: "I would like to express my sadness and distress on hearing of the death of assistant referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen. 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.''

The Dutch football association, the KNVB, announced all amateur games this weekend have been called off while professional matches will be preceded by a minute's silence, with all players and referees involved wearing black armbands.

KNVB director of professional football Bert van Oostveen said: "It is inconceivable that anything like this occurs on a football field. These are the volunteers that we build our sport on, that we cannot do without. Without respect, no football.

"That is why we in professional football want to show our support in this terrible situation. Our thoughts go out to the family of Richard Nieuwenhuizen.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report