Football player jailed for killing Detroit referee with single punch

Bassel Saad, in court in Michigan
Bassel Saad, in court in Michigan

An amateur footballer has been jailed for killing a referee with a single punch after he was booked in a Michigan United Soccer League match.

John Bieniewicz was about to show Bassel Saad a second yellow card and send the 37-year-old mechanic off when Saad knocked the official unconscious.

The referee, 44, died two days after the game in Detroit last June.

Saad pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced on Friday to at least eight years in jail.

As Saad was about to be taken from the court, Mr Bieniewicz's widow Kristen held up a red card and said: "I would like to serve Mr Saad with the red card that he was entitled to."

Kristen Bieniewicz shows Bassel Saad (back turned) the red card
Mr Bieniewicz's family said they were "heartbroken" by his death

Judge Thomas Cameron said: "For better or for worse, you've come to personify all that's wrong with many people's belief about the escalation of violence in sports."

Saad was ordered to pay $9,200 (£6,200) in funeral expenses.

Michigan lawmakers are to consider new crimes for assaults on sports referees.