A Dutch football linesman has died in hospital after being severely beaten by players taking part in a youth match in Almere, the Netherlands.

Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was taken to hospital after being set upon by several members of the opposing team, the Amsterdam club of Niew Sloten on Sunday.

It is not known what provoked the attack, but according to the Telegraph local media reported that Nieuwenhuizen was repeatedly insulted during the match.

Nieuwenhuizen's club, Buitenboys have not announced what exactly caused the linesman's death, reported AP.

Dutch sports minister Edith Schippers told the national broadcaster NOS after the incident "it is absolutely terrible that something like this can happen on a Dutch sports field".

The players involved are believed to have been between the ages of 15-16 and three people are in custody, officers announced.

Niew Sloten have banned the players involved and pulled out of the league, saying on their website such actions "do not belong on a football field."