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Thousands march to commemorate death of Dutch linesman

Published on Dec 10, 2012 6:57 AM
Family members of Richard Nieuwenhuizen attend a silent march to commemorate the linesman in Almere Dec 9, 2012. Dutch clubs held a minute's silence and teams wore black arm bands before Saturday's professional soccer matches in memory of a linesman who died following an incident during a youth competition last weekend. Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was attacked while officiating for the Buitenboys team in an under-17 match in Almere last Sunday and died the following day. Four teenage Nieuw-Sloten Amsterdam players have been arrested. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

AMSTERDAM (REUTERS) - Thousands of Dutch mourners walked in silence with candles and flowers on Sunday to commemorate the fatal beating of a volunteer football linesman, whose death last week shocked the Netherlands.

Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was attacked by a group of football players while refereeing an under-17 match. He died shortly after being kicked repeatedly by the youth players, who were 15 and 16 years old.

His death, which led to the arrest of four players, at least two of them of Moroccan origin, has sparked an national debate about violence on the football pitch. 

"On Sunday evening some 12,000 people, many of them youth football players whose own games were cancelled, marched in silence, Dutch news agency ANP agency reported. Nieuwenhuizen's son was among them. "We will miss you dad. Rest in peace," he told the crowd as he broke down in tears.

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