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Monday, 3 December 2012

Act of outrageous violence by members of an Amsterdam football team ends the life of 41 year old amateur linesman.

I don't want this anger, burning in me
It's something from which it's so hard to be free
And none of the tears we cry in sorrow or rage
Can make any difference, or turn back the page

Normally, I want to bring you the news and the best stories on the Dutch and European economies in the widest sense of the word.

Sometimes, however, it is not possible to ignore the news-of-the-neighbourhood. In this case, there is a saddening and sickening cause for it. I bring it to you, because it happened less than one mile away from my home and because it chilled me to the bone.

After an amateur football match between junior teams of Almere Buiten (my domicile) and Amsterdam (Nieuw-Sloten) had ended, things went horribly wrong.

About three - five players of the Amsterdam team, in the ages 15 and 16, attacked one of the linesmen. They did so, supposedly out of frustration about decisions the linesman took during the (already tense) match. These players threw the linesman – Richard Nieuwenhuizen, a 41 year old amateur and father of one of the Almere Buiten players – on the ground and kicked and beat him repeatedly to the head and body.

Initially the linesman could escape his attackers by running away, but the players tackled him and again kicked and beat him severely to the head. An eyewitness stated that the linesman received a huge kick to his back of the head and neck.

After the event, the linesman went home and slept for a few hours before returning to the football field to watch another match. During this match, linesman Nieuwenhuizen became unwell and was rushed to the hospital in Almere, where he remained in critical condition until today.

Today at about 17.30 (5.30 pm CET) Richard Nieuwenhuizen died of his injuries in hospital. Although the cause of his death is not disclosed yet, I presume that it was fatal brain damage as a consequence of swellings and haemorrhages in his brain and neck.

I was very much shocked and saddened by this news. The wife and children of Richard Nieuwenhuizen must now live without their husband and father.

The extremely young perpetrators and their family must live with the fact that they not only ruined this man’s life and that of his wife and children, but their own lives as well.

Sadly, there is more often an atmosphere of violence around (especially) amateur football matches. Last year, a 77 year-old spectator was kicked to death by a football player gone berzerk. And during the last years there have been numerous cases of very violent aggression on and around the football pitch.

Although the sheer number of incidents during amateur football matches has decreased lately, due to a very strict penalizing system of the national Dutch football association KNVB, it are these kinds of incidents that point people to the fact that there can be massive amounts of agression and frustration in the current society.

It would be (too) easy to point to the credit crisis and the socionomic unrests it causes, as a cause for these outbursts of outrageous violence. Football has always been a sport that can get the best and the worst out of people. The coming investigation must disclose what was the reason behind this terrible incident. 

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