Soccer referee dies after assault by player

Dearborn man facing charges after attack during rec game

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — More charges could soon be filed against a 36-year-old Dearborn man after he allegedly assaulted a referee during a soccer game June 29 in Livonia. The man died two days later from his injuries.

Bassel Abdul-Amir Saad was arraigned June 30 in Livonia’s 16th District Court before Magistrate Barbara Scherr on the charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder after he allegedly punched referee John Bieniewicz, 44, of Westland, during an adult soccer game.

Bieniewicz was unconscious and unresponsive when emergency crews arrived at the field and died July 1.

Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Communications Director Maria Miller said additional charges could be forthcoming now that Bieniewicz has died.

“The charges will be reviewed and amended when appropriate confirmations are made and other necessary documentation is received,” Miller said.

Bond was set at $500,000 cash/surety and Saad is next scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary examination of the evidence against him in front of Judge Kathleen McCann at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The incident occurred at Mies Park, 32305 W. Chicago in Livonia, just before noon June 29.

Saad was participating in a soccer game and allegedly became upset and punched Bieniewicz in the head after Bieniewicz called for Saad to be automatically ejected from the game for a foul.

After the altercation, Saad fled the scene with a friend but was picked up by police a short time later.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at