Brazilian soccer player William Ribeiro is facing attempted murder charges after he kicked referee Rodrigo Crivellaro in the head -- knocking him unconscious -- during a match on Monday. The shocking events unfolded after Crivellaro awarded Guarani de Venancio Aires a free kick against Ribeiro's São Paulo de Rio Grande team during the second half of their match.
Sao Paulo-RS, who compete in the sixth-tier of the Brazilian football pyramid, immediately terminated Ribeiro's contract and announced that they will pursue "all possible legal measures" regarding the incident, which club president Deivid Goulart Pereira described as "revolting." Goulart Pereira also offered his support to Crivellaro, who stayed in a local hospital the night of the game before being discharged Tuesday morning.
"On the exact day when all the red-green family gathered to celebrate the 113th anniversary of Sao Paulo RS, our club faced one of the saddest episodes of its history, a fateful scene that shocked all people who love not only Gaucho football but all those who just love the sport in general," Goulart Pereira said in a statement.
"Rest assured, we are sorry and deeply ashamed," he added. "We send all the apologies in the world to the injured referee and his family as well as apologizing to the public in general for the lamentable scene seen today.
Here's video of the incident, which may be too graphic or disturbing to some. Ribeiro begins his attack on Crivellaro at around the 30-second mark before police rush onto the pitch and an ambulance arrives to take the referee to a hospital.
"His attack was very strong and violent, kicking the referee in the head and making him pass out," Police investigator Vinicius Assuncao told UOL. "The referee had no chance of defending himself."
The teams halted their match for the night and played the rest on Tuesday. Guarani, who led 1-0 before Ribeiro's incident, eventually won by that same score.