Amateur soccer referee dies from punch

An undated photo provided by the Livonia Police Department is of Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad. Saad, a Detroit-area soccer player who police say critically injured a referee by punching him during a match Sunday June 29, 2014, has surrendered to face a felony assault charge. (AP Photo/Livonia Police Department)
An undated photo provided by the Livonia Police Department is of Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad. Saad, a Detroit-area soccer player who police say critically injured a referee by punching him during a match Sunday June 29, 2014, has surrendered to face a felony assault charge. (AP Photo/Livonia Police Department)

DETROIT (AP) — A hospital and a longtime friend say a man who was punched while refereeing an adult-league soccer match has died.

Detroit Receiving Hospital spokesman Alton Gunn and friend and attorney Jim Acho (A’-choh) confirm that John Bieniewicz (BEN’-uh-wits) died Tuesday morning.

Livonia police say the referee was punched after indicating he would eject a player from the game on Sunday. A 36-year-old Dearborn man is charged in the attack.

Acho says a fund is being set up to help pay for his friend’s funeral and burial expenses as well as his children’s futures.

According to Acho, Bieniewicz was a dialysis technician at a children’s hospital who lived in Westland with his wife and two sons.

Bieniewicz was a soccer referee for two decades.

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