Dutch Soccer Games Canceled in Tribute to Slain Linesman
Three teenagers have been charged over the death of the linesman Monday
Laura Smith-Spark CNN
December 08, 2012
(CNN) -- Amateur football games across the Netherlands have been canceled this weekend in tribute to a volunteer soccer official whose alleged beating death by teenage players has shocked the country.
A minute's silence will also be observed before all professional games played this weekend, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said in a statement.
Players and match officials taking part in those games will wear black armbands, it said.
KNVB has also taken out large ads in newspapers, with the message, "Without respect, no football."
The ads say that respect is "more than a word" -- and calls on people to show that they are against violence.
The cancellation affects 33,000 amateur games that would have been played over the weekend, according to Dutch public media.
Two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old -- all Amsterdam club Nieuw Sloten players -- have been charged by Dutch police following the death of 41-year-old linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen.
Nieuwenhuizen's son was playing in the match for his club, Buitenboys, when the incident occurred in the city of Almere on Sunday. The linesman reportedly fell into a coma after he was beaten and died the next day.
Nieuwenhuizen's death resonated across the globe, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter among those extending their condolences.
"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, according to a statement on fifa.com.
"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 to use its positive example to educate people against these wrongs."
On its website Nieuw Sloten said it was "deeply shocked" by Nieuwenhuizen's death, adding that it would ban for life the players found to be responsible, as well pulling its team from the league and temporarily suspending all operations as a club.
"Violence should not be on the football fields," said a statement on the Nieuw Sloten website.
"And certainly not against referees, linesmen and all those others who volunteer each year to help over a million amateur footballers. We must do everything possible to eliminate these excesses."
Despite a population of 17.5 million, Holland has built an outstanding reputation for developing young footballers over the years, with its amateur youth clubs providing a strong breeding ground for the country's professional clubs.
CNN's Gary Morley contributed to this report.
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