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Brazilian footballer charged with attempted murder after horrific on-field referee attack

(Image credit: Video screenshot)

Brazilian footballer William Ribeiro has been charged with the attempted murder of referee Rodrigo Crivellaro, after kicking him in the head during a match.

Sao Paulo de Rio Grande player Ribeiro took exception to a decision from the official in a match against Guarani in the second tier of Brazil, knocking Crivellaro unconscious with a vicious strike to the head. 

The game was stopped 14 minutes into the second half, as Crivellaro was taken to hospital. He was released on Tuesday morning, while Ribeiro was arrested at the stadium. 

Sao Paulo club president Delvid Goulart confirmed Ribeiro had been sacked by the football club - who were celebrating their 113th anniversary on the day of the match.

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Warning: this video contains violence which may upset viewers

Goulart released a statement calling the incident, “Unfortunate, regrettable and above all revolting.

"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.

"We send all the apologies in the world to the injured referee and his family as well as apologising to the public in general for the lamentable scene seen today.

“The contract of the offending player is terminated. Furthermore, all possible legal measures in relation to the incident will be taken.”