On Sunday, Nieuwenhuizen was working as a referee’s assistant in a youth soccer game when teenage players attacked him after the final whistle.
They punched and kicked the 41-year-old. Hours later, he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Nieuwenhuizen died on Monday, according to the Associated Press.
“You can’t believe this could happen. That kids of 15 or 16 are playing football, you come to watch and see something like that,” Buitenboys club chairman Marcel Oost told NOS.
Three players, aged 15 and 16, were arrested for their alleged involvement. They remain in custody, while police investigate the matter. Authorities have not ruled out arresting more suspects.
One of Nieuwenhuizen’s sons was playing in the game for Buitenboys, and he presumably witnessed the attack.
“He did it every week,” Oost said. “He enjoyed doing it. He was a real football man; he was always here.”
Buitenboys club, located in the town of Almere, was hosting Amsterdam-based Nieuw Sloten. Players from the visiting team were allegedly involved in the attack. Nieuw Sloten has banned them and withdrawn from the league.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/bardigan1