Referee dies after punch from player in adult-league soccer match

Tuesday July 1st, 2014
An undated photo of Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad, who allegedly killed a soccer referee.
AP Photo/Livonia Police Department

A disagreement in an adult-league soccer match has turned into tragedy. John Bieniewicz, 44, a referee in a Detroit-area soccer league, died Tuesday after being punched Sunday by a player, reports the Associated Press

Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad, a 36-year-old man from Dearborn, Michigan, has been charged with second-degree murder in the attack, according to the Associated Press

Saad allegedly punched Bieniewicz after the referee threatened to eject a player from the match. It's currently unclear if that was Saad or another player.

A spokesman for Detroit Receiving Hospital and Jim Acho, a longtime friend, confirmed Bieniewicz's death to the AP.

"His friends love him," Acho said, according to the AP. "He lives life to the fullest. Never has a bad day. Ever."

Bieniewicz, who had been a referee for two decades, leaves behind a wife and two sons. A fund is being set up to help pay for funeral expenses and provide for his children's future.

—Ben Estes

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.