German federation urges respect for referees

The German Football Federation (DFB) president has sent an open

letter to all 25,641 clubs in the country urging respect for

referees after a volunteer linesman was beaten to death in the


Dutch police have arrested four players suspected of involvement

in the fatal beating after a youth match.

DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said the news of the beating

was received ”with horror and disbelief.”

Niersbach said what happened in the Netherlands must not repeat

itself anywhere in the world. He said the commitment of referees in

Germany ”deserves the highest recognition and respect” and ”our

special protection.”

Without them, there would be no regulated nationwide football,

with its 1.6 million games annually, Niersbach said.

He said the DFB was determined to stand up for the referees.