Teenage football players jailed for kicking linesman to death

Father of one player also convicted of attack in Netherlands.

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AMSTERDAM // A Dutch court yesterday convicted six young footballers and the father of one of the players of manslaughter for kicking to death a volunteer linesman after a match last December.

Judges in Lelystad sentenced the 50-year-old father, identified only as El-Hasan D, to six years in prison. Five teenaged players were given two years in youth detention for their roles in the attack and another was sentenced to a year. A seventh player, age 15, was given 30 days in detention for assault.

All the defendants had insisted they were innocent. They have two weeks to appeal. Their lawyers had argued that the linesman, Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, had an underlying medical condition that contributed to his death but Dutch forensic experts said he died as a result of the beating.

Judges said the young players acted together in the fatal beating and gave them the highest sentences available.

"The seriousness of the event, the lack of a clear reason for it, the terrible consequences, the fact that they haven't accepted responsibility for their acts and the enormous shock it caused throughout society and the entire football world meant that the minors received the maximum possible sentence," the court said.

The fatal attack took place on December 2 in the Dutch city of Almere, after the home team Buitenboys drew 2-2 with Nieuw Sloten, from a suburb of Amsterdam.