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Police: Soccer referee punched during match in suburban Detroit in critical condition

Soccer Referee Attacked-1.jpg

June 29: An undated photo provided by the Livonia Police Department is of Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad.The Associated Press

A Detroit-area soccer player is facing a felony assualt 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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