Dutch football league cancels amateur matches following fatal attack | News | DW | 04.12.2012
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Dutch football league cancels amateur matches following fatal attack

The Netherlands' football league has temporarily suspended all upcoming amateur matches. The decision came after three Dutch teenagers allegedly attacked a linesman, who later died from the sustained injuries.

While amateur matches have been suspended for the coming weekend, the Royal Netherlands Football Association said in statement on Tuesday, the professional teams were still scheduled to play. They planned to commemorate the victim, linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen, with a moment of silence before the weekend matches. Both players and officials would wear black armbands out of respect for the victim of the football-related attack.

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Among those dismayed by the violent turn of events that transpired over the weekend FIFA President Joseph Blatter also expressed his "sadness and distress," saying it reflected a more alarming picture of the country.

"Football is a mirror of society and sadly, the same ills that afflict society - in this case violence - also manifest themselves in our game," said Blatter.

Three boys - who were formally charged with manslaughter on Tuesday - allegedly attacked Nieuwenhuizen, 41, who had been officiating a match on Sunday between Amsterdam amateur club, Nieuw Sloten, and Almere team, Buitenboys.

Nieuwenhuizen's son reportedly plays on the Buitenboys team. After sustaining head injuries, the linesman was admitted to a hospital, where he died the following day.

In response to the attack, the Nieuw Sloten club said it was "deeply shocked." It had suspended the three charged in the attack and withdrawn itself from the amateur league, according to a statement on its website.

"Violence does not belong on the football pitch," club Nieuw Sloten said.

kms/hc (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)

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