Young footballers’ sad farewell to slain linesman

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Members of Dutch youth football club SC Buitenboys have paid their last respects to linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen, who was allegedly beaten to death by players of a rival team.

The 41-year-old was attacked while officiating at an under-17 match. He died shortly after being kicked repeatedly by the SV Nieuw Sloten players, who were 15 and 16 years old.

His death, which led to the arrest of four players, at least two of Moroccan origin, has sparked a national debate.

The death was seized upon by the anti-Muslim party of populist Geert Wilders, who blamed the death on what he called “not a football problem, but a Moroccan problem”.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said: “The core issue here is violence on the field. Unfortunately, it happens far too often, whether the culprits have a Moroccan background or a Dutch background.”

Dutch clubs held a minute’s silence before weekend matches in Mr Nieuwenhuizen’s memory.