Justice minister Ivo Opstelten wants to research the possibility of introducing harsher punishments for people convicted of attacking referees, RTL news reports.
Opstelten says violence against referees could be treated the same as attacks on emergency service workers and tram drivers, RTL said. This would mean people convicted of attacking a referee would be given double the standard sentence.
‘People have to accept authority, that is what it is all about,’ Opstelten said. ‘People in positions of authority should be able to do their jobs, whether on the street or in a football stadium.’
Opstelten was reacting to the death of amateur football linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen after he was attacked by a group of teenagers after a match.
The minister must first discuss the idea with the public prosecution department to see if it can be implemented. Earlier, sports minister Edith Schippers said football clubs should always report attacks on referees and linesmen to the police.
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