‘It Will Happen Again,’ Says Sports Official on Violent Death of Soccer Referee

Khalil AlHajal, MLive, July 3, 2014

The death of a Westland man who was assaulted during a Sunday soccer match has captured national attention, and the head of a referees’ group is speaking out on the matter–again.

Barry Mano, president of the Wisconsin-based National Association of Sports Officials has spoken at length on the violent death of a soccer referee once before, after Ricardo Portillo was punched by a teenage player and died a week later near Salt Lake City, Utah in 2013.

Mano was asked during an HBO interview last year whether he believed such an incident would ever happen again.

“My answer was ‘Yes.’ And, sadly, I have been proven right about something I wish with every bone in my body I would have been proven wrong,” Mano wrote in a column to be published in Referee magazine.

This time, the victim was John Bieniewicz, a 44-year-old dialysis technician at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

John Bieniewicz

John Bieniewicz

Police believe Bassel Saad, 36, of Dearborn, punched Bieniewicz after growing angry when the referee signaled for his ejection during a soccer match at Mies Park on West Chicago Street in Livonia around noon Sunday.


Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad

Baseel Abdul-Amir Saad

In a 911 recording released Wednesday, a witness told dispatchers Bieniewicz’s attacker knocked him unconscious and ran with another man to a Jeep Wrangler, peeling out of the parking lot while bystanders attempted to perform CPR on the referee.


“There are days you just want to stop,” Mano wrote. “You want to say: ‘The hell with all of this.’ Tuesday, July 1, was one of them. That is when we received word that John Bieniewicz, a much respected Michigan soccer official, had died from a blow to the head delivered by a player on the cusp of ejection. John reportedly never saw the punch coming. He was looking down in the process of pulling out his red card. Sadly, the last thing he might have seen in this life is that red card.”


Mano doesn’t believe it will be the last time a referee is killed on a soccer field.

“It will happen again,” he wrote. “It will happen because society has chosen to be loud, brash, unforgiving and upbraiding. We are choosing to not respect authority. We are choosing to surround ourselves with celluloid violence–smash, pow, bam! At seemingly every turn we choose to turn the volume up instead of down. We want our way. We will not accept someone showing a yellow card or a red card to us . . . If folks think we officials can protect them from themselves, they are sadly mistaken. Sports is life with the volume turned up. Those of us who referee have little sway over the loudness. So, just what did you expect would happen that day in Livonia, Mich.?”

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  • MekongDelta69

    “Police believe Bassel Saad, 36, of Dearbornistan…”

    Although I did, I really didn’t have to read any further…

    • Tim_in_Indiana

      Actually, the writer didn’t actually say “Dearbornistan.” If he did, it might have implied a greater level of racial awareness (or honesty) than he actually had.

      • MekongDelta69

        Correct. I added the “-istan” because that’s what it is, and that’s how most people refer to it.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Not only will it happen again, it will also get worse and increase in frequency as the third world population gets larger and larger because of massive immigration-fueled population growth. Because of third world immigration, Amurika is now a tinderbox waiting to explode.

    • archer

      That is absolutely correct, this is what happens when we are forced to live with savages.

    • Erasmus

      “It will happen because society has chosen to be loud, brash, unforgiving and upbraiding.”

      And the nation has become loud, brash and unforgiving because our “leaders” in Washington have let in 3rd world trash that is “loud, brash, unforgiving and upbraiding.”

  • I can’t wait to see the reaction of the former USA to a chimpout on an NFL playing field where a Negro kills a white referee. It will happen and probably soon. But I can’t figure out how the press will play it. And what the Negro-worshipping NFL will do about it. As stated in this piece by the ref, more beatings and murders of refs will take place. That’s the price of die-versity.

    • bubo

      I guess even the black NFL players aren’t typically high or drunk when playing. The monetary consequences for any such actions will keep them in line.

      • MissaJim

        I would have to say that the thoughts of the monetary consequences would not stop a black from chimping out. Look at all the former black NFLers who are dead broke to see their prowess with keeping the money they’ve earned. The urge to chimp out can be suppressed no more than you can keep a dog from licking itself.

  • IstvanIN

    “It will happen again,” he wrote. “It will happen because society has chosen to be loud, brash, unforgiving and upbraiding. We are choosing to not respect authority. We are choosing to surround ourselves with celluloid violence–smash, pow, bam!

    We didn’t choose anything. We didn’t chose to give up a modern, civilized, liberal society. We didn’t chose to give up the social contract that allows a society to function without the heavy hand of government, police and military at every turn, directing every aspect of life. We didn’t chose to have all our major cities turned into battlefields, our public schools turned into day care for violent “teens”, our ability to enjoy a pleasant evening walk taken away. We didn’t chose to allow thugs the virtual right to kill our elderly, our children, our women. This was chosen for us. Pray that someday those who chose this course are brought to justice.

  • Michigan Patriot

    Importation of third world, hate crime inflicting inferiors amongst Western civilized Christian nations; we lose big time.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Notice that Barry Mano named every cause for the attack except the true one…

  • bubo

    A 36 year old “adult” moslem playing in a glorified little league for grownups getting so upset he kills the ref? What a country. I put adult in quotations because some of these muzzie males still have their mothers washing their clothes for them at that age. I wonder if a woman ever turned him down and if so where he buried her?

  • Jack Burton

    Oh that’s nothing. At a Brazilian soccer game they stabbed the ref to death on the field, quartered him, decapitated him and stuck his severed head on a stake in the field. This is not a joke.

  • Erasmus

    Stories like this make me see the occasional bright spots in sharia law.
    Had he done this in Saudi Arabia Mohammed, up there in that picture, would be tried, convicted and the following Friday have his head chopped off in front of the Mosque before noon day prayers.

  • Strider73

    And they come from lands with no 2nd Amendment equivalent. Most have no idea how to use a simple handgun, much less a long gun or shotgun. That will be their downfall when the SHTF.