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Violence on the pitch won't be tolerated, says prime minister

Friday 07 December 2012

The attack on football linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen by a group of teenage players is not a ‘Moroccan problem’ but the responsibility of society as a whole, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.

It is the first time the prime minister has commented on the death of Nieuwenhuizen, who died after being punched and kicked by 15 and 16-year-old boys. Four youths are currently in police custody.

Although the ethnicity of the boys has not been officially mentioned, they are widely reported to be of Moroccan origin.

‘Violence on the football pitch is completely unacceptable,’ the NRC quoted the prime minister as saying during his weekly press conference. ‘We have to make it clear that we will not tolerate it.’

At the same time, ‘we must never close our eyes to the ethnic origins of the perpetrators,' the prime minister said. 'But this is a sport-related problem. The key is violence on the pitch. And at the same time, this is a problem for all society.’

Project X Haren

Violence in sport is ‘more common than we think’, Rutte said. It is violence which can be ‘committed by people of Moroccan origin and people with Dutch origins,’ he said.

As examples of Dutch-initiated violence, Rutte mentioned football hooligans and the Project X Haren riots in which gangs of white youths went on the rampage, the Volkskrant reported.

The prime minister called on amateur sports organisations to work together to ensure a safe environment. This is the responsibility of parents, sports clubs, schools and the football association,’ he said.

‘The government cannot solve this. You cannot turn the Netherlands into a police state,’ the Volkskrant quoted him as saying. ‘The government can take a stand and bring different groups together but no plan of campaign is going to solve this. A plan of campaign only works if everyone takes responsibility.’


Achmed Baadoud, chairman of Amsterdam borough council Nieuw West where the boys live, told free newspaper Metro bad parenting is to blame for the violence in amateur football.

'Many parents tell me they were hit at home and they don't know how to punish their own children,' Baadoud told the paper.

Earlier, former Dutch international Johan Cruijff told Nos television parents are largely to blame for football-related violence.

‘If you look at the way some parents behave during matches for children aged six to 11, it is a complete scandal,’ Cruijff said. ‘You need to start by instilling standards, and removing parents [who cause trouble],’ he said.

Earlier stories

Fourth teenager arrested for attack on football linesman
Youths face manslaughter charges for kicking linesman to death

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Well, at least it's clear that wilders is not governing any more which is good news. And I agree with Rutte on this one

By the_expat | 7 December 2012 7:20 PM

Your prime minister is playing down the problem, that’s his job, but the fact what he said does not reflect the reality is in every day life is visible and the gang nature developing is of concern.

By Terence Hale | 7 December 2012 8:11 PM

It is a hard lesson. It is not what you perceive has happened on the pitch it is whatever and however the referee/umpire/linesman called it. Deal with it.

By Puck | 7 December 2012 9:32 PM

The problem will only be tackled when it is addressed as was the racism campaigns of the past. The leadership must start with action by the KNVB in the professional game.

By Stephen Huyton | 8 December 2012 6:11 AM

It seems people are quick to jump to race and sports violence as the main issue...when these are only small mitigating factors.

START WITH THE PARENTS! Parents are a very big problem in organized sports. Parents might also start being...well...PARENTS. Getting your kids out of the house does not relieve you of your responsibilities for their actions. Positive mindset begins at home.

By Kevin L | 8 December 2012 1:19 PM

Rutter, a man of many words & clever speeches, but no back-up.. :P

Good PR work, but needs to work harder on realism. :P

By The visitor | 8 December 2012 9:45 PM

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