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The Hague – A 41-year-old football linesman was pronounced clinically dead on Monday after he was severely beaten by teenaged players following a match in the Netherlands, police said.
“He is clinically dead,” police spokesman Bernhard Jens told AFP.
Police have arrested three 15- and 16-year-olds from visiting Amsterdam club Nieuwe Sloten for allegedly beating the linesman shortly after the final whistle in Sunday's match against Buitenboys in neighbouring city Almere.
Dutch media said the linesman had been repeatedly insulted during the match.
During the post-match beating he was kicked in the head and taken to hospital later in the evening after feeling unwell, police said.
Police arrested the three youths from Amsterdam at their homes on Sunday night. They have been kicked out of their club and their team has withdrawn from this season's championship.
Sports Minister Edith Schippers reacted with shock even before the clinical death was announced.
“It's absolutely horrible that something like this can happen on Dutch sports grounds,” she said.
“This no longer has anything to do with sport and is completely unacceptable,” she told Dutch public television.
The Dutch football federation KNVB condemned the attack, also before the clinical death was announced, with a spokesman saying “what can you do against people who can come off the rails at any moment on a football pitch because they don't like something or somebody?”
“Statistics show that most incidents that happen in youth football happen with this age group. Obviously it's a difficult age during which certain players can be reckless,” national news agency ANP quoted the KNVB as saying. – Sapa-AFP