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Blatter shocked by Bieniewicz's death

An official stands over a "Brazuca" match ball prior to a corner kick
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John Bieniewicz, an amateur referee who was attacked on Sunday 29 June at a park in Livonia, USA, died at Detroit Receiving Hospital on Tuesday 1 July. Bieniewicz, 44, was punched in the head by a 36-year-old man after indicating that he planned to give him a red card. The man who delivered the punch was arraigned Monday on a charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, in a letter to Sunil Gulati, president of US Soccer, has expressed shock and solidarity. “I would like to express my sadness and distress on hearing of the death of referee John Bieniewicz after being assaulted during a match last week. I was deeply shocked to learn of this tragic incident."

Bieniewicz, 44, was a dialysis technician at Mott Children's Hospital who lived in the Detroit suburb of Westland with his wife and two sons. “Football is a mirror of society and sadly the same ills that afflict society, in this case violence, also manifest themselves in our game," Blatter added in his letter.

"Nevertheless, I remain convinced that football - through the example set by the tireless efforts of people like Mr Bieniewicz - is a force for good and we must continue use its positive example to educate people against these wrongs."

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