London: Six teenage footballers and one of the player`s fathers have been convicted for attacking a linesman, who was kicked to death following an under-17 game in the Netherlands in December 2012.
Five of the players were each given two-year terms in youth detention and a sixth got one year, while another player, who is 15 years old, was sentenced to 30 days detention for assault ing the official Richard Nieuwenhuizen.
The father, identified only as El-Hasan D, had been on the sidelines but joined in the attack, for which he was sentenced to six years in prison.
Although the defendants had insisted that they were innocent with their lawyers arguing that Nieuwenhuizen had an underlying medical condition that contributed to his death, however forensic experts said that he died as a result of the beating on December 2 in the city of Almere.
Although Nieuwenhuizen had initially seemed to recover and shrugged off questions about whether he would file a complaint, but he collapsed a few hours later and died in hospital the following day.
According to a court statement, the seriousness of the event, the lack of a clear reason for it, the consequences, the fact that the accused have not 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 statement added the father had received a heavy punishment because `instead of setting a good example to the youths by criticising their behaviour he joined them in kicking and beating the linesman and has never accepted responsibility` for his actions.
I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Juventus have achieved over the last few years.