FIFA President Sepp Blatter has spoken of his sadness after the death of linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen.
The 41-year-old official was fatally wounded by players during a game between Dutch youth clubs, and passed away on Monday after being attacked by three underage Nieuw Sloten footballers.
The linesman’s son was playing in the same game for opposing team Buitenboys, and Blatter said he was appalled by the tragic incident.
“I would like to express my sadness and distress on hearing of the death of assistant referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen,” wrote Blatter in a letter to the Dutch football association.
“I was deeply shocked to learn of this tragic incident. Football is a mirror of society and sadly the same ills that afflict society – in this case violence – also manifest themselves in our game.
“Nevertheless, I remain convinced that football. through the example set by the tireless efforts of people like Mr Nieuwenhuizen, is a force for good.
“We must continue to use its positive example to educate people against these wrongs.”
The three alleged culprits, two aged 15 and one 16, will stand trial after they were charged with ‘manslaughter, assault or public violence’.