Soccer Ref Critically Injured After Player Punch

Soccer Referee Attacked

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area soccer player faces a felony assault charge on accusations he critically injured a referee when he punched him during an adult-league match.

Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad surrendered Monday and was arraigned in Livonia District Court a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm. A judge set his bond at $500,000 and scheduled a probable-cause hearing July 10.

Defense lawyer Brian Berry tells The Associated Press that his client cooperated with police and isn’t guilty of the charge.

He says he and Saad send “prayers out to the referee and his family.”

Police say Saad punched the unnamed referee in the head after the referee indicated he planned to eject the 36-year-old Dearborn resident from a game Sunday.

The referee was in critical condition Monday afternoon.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A Detroit-area soccer player is facing a felony assault charge for allegedly punching a referee during an adult-league match, critically injuring him.

Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad was arraigned Monday in Livonia District Court a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm. Bond was set at $500,000, and a probable-cause hearing was set for July 10.

The Associated Press left messages Monday seeking comment from Saad’s lawyer, Brian Berry.

Saad punched the unnamed referee in the head after the referee indicated he planned to eject the 36-year-old Dearborn resident from a game Sunday at Mies Park, Livonia police Lt. Tom Goralski said.

The referee was in critical condition at a hospital, authorities said.

Saad wasn’t at the field when police arrived, Goralski said. The lieutenant said Saad surrendered Monday.

Violence is far-from-uncommon in soccer and other sports, as illustrated by the recorded telephone message at the National Association of Sports Officials in Racine, Wisconsin.

“For NASO insurance or assault information, press 3,” the message says.

A request for comment was left Monday for association spokesman Matt Moore.

On April 27, 2013, a then-17-year-old player punched referee Ricardo Portillo over being called for a foul during a game in a soccer game in Taylorsville, Utah, near Salt Lake City. Portillo, a father of three, died after one week in a coma.

The teen pleaded guilty to a homicide charge.

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