Beaten up referee tells his story of violence against him

A 29-year-old referee was kicked by a player after giving him a red card. He tells his story of the incident to football website Het Amsterdamsche Voetbal. Another sad chapter of violence against referees.

Just one week after the Dutch FA released a list with 10 things that are going to change to stop violence against referees in The Netherlands, three violent incidents against referees took place.

Arend van Laar was refereeing a match between OSC and SDZ in the Amsterdam region. In the 43rd minute all went wrong. He send of an OSC player, who strongly disagreed with him. His clothing was almost literally torn from his body before he also got a kick on his thigh.

Dutch police badge.

Dutch police badge.

“It took a while to file a report at the police station and I’ve been in the hospital too”, says Van Laar to local sports news website Het Amsterdamsche Voetbal. “Luckily I haven’t broken anything, but the musscle in my thigh is bruised and I got a couple of bruises. Furthermore, the incident hit me hard mentally.”

Van Laar experienced personal violence two years ago. “My first reaction is now to stop refereeing, but maybe that’s just the first emotion. The next week I’m going to think about it and have a conversation with the Dutch FA (KNVB).”

The player who got a red card made a tackle, but was way too late. “Firstly, he pulled the clothing of my body. It can’t be repaired. I decided immediately to abandon the match. Then he thought it was neccessary to kick me on my thigh. My safety on the pitch was completely gone by then.” The chairmen of both clubs then guided the referee of the pitch and helped him to the showers and the board room of the club.

But is he willing to hear the story of the player? “No, I am not trying to get in touch with him. If he really wants to, he should have a very good motivation. For now I am sick of it.”

I hope the referee recovers soon and will find joy in refereeing again. This violence against referees has to stop!

Dutch FA takes measures against violence against referees

The Dutch FA has released a plan to decrease violence against referees in Dutch football and get more respect for referees.

Arag and KNVB will give all Dutch referees a new official shirt.

Arag and KNVB will give all Dutch referees a new official shirt.

Check out the full plan in Dutch (pdf). The death of linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen was the main reason for this new plan, launched by the Dutch FA Wednesday 20th of March. “After that tragic incident in December 2012 one thing was absolutely clear: more needs to be done [against violence]”, says the FA in a statement which was delivered in the mailboxes of all Dutch referees.

Sponsor ARAG also announced that all Dutch referees will get an official Nike referee shirt.

10 things that are going to change in Dutch football to stop violence against referees

According to the FA’s plans.

  • An emergency number which is available 24/7 to call when there’s serious violence on the football pitch
  • Online web form on the Dutch FA’s respect page which can be filled in so people could share their negative experiences with clubs, players and referees.
  • Time penalty (sin bin) of ten minutes along with the first yellow card. This will be applied in category B of Dutch amateur football (the lowest leagues). At this moment people at that level could get a yellow card OR a 5 minute ban.
  • Publish rules of conduct at football clubs (on and off the pitch).
  • Youth players are required to pass for a LATG test
  • Youth players with a ban for 9 months and adults with a 18 months suspension are required to follow a ‘good behaviour course’.
  • Clubs who misbehave will be confronted with more observers during the club’s matches.
  • Extra help and guidance from the KNVB for clubs with recurrence of violence.
  • Improve the use of player passes and prevent the system from fraud. Both captains need to be there when checking the passes.
  • All disciplinary sanctions will be published online.