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Brazilian footballer to be charged with attempted murder after vicious attack on referee

Sao Paulo-RS midfielder William Ribeiro sent the official tumbling to the ground with a punch and then knocked him unconscious with a kick to the back of the neck.

Referee Rodrigo Crivellaro lying on the ground after the attack.
Referee Rodrigo Crivellaro lying on the ground after the attack.
Image: YouTube/OUL Esporte

A BRAZILIAN FOOTBALLER was arrested and is due to be charged with attempted murder after knocking a referee unconscious during a match.

Sao Paulo-RS midfielder William Ribeiro sent referee Rodrigo Crivellaro tumbling to the ground with a punch and then knocked him unconscious with a vicious kick to the back of the neck during the match on Monday night.

The assault, just before the hour mark of the Sao Paulo state second tier match against Guarani, was captured by television cameras.

Crivellaro was quickly given medical assistance on the field and then taken to hospital, although he was discharged on Tuesday morning “in good health,” a source at the Sao Sebastiao Martir hospital in the city of Venancio Aires, told AFP.

Vinicius Assuncao, the police inspector in charge of the case, quoted by local press, said Ribeiro would be charged with attempted murder.

The referee “was struck while on his feet and fell down without being able to defend himself,” said Assuncao. “It could have been a death or serious head injury.”

Television images show players from both sides frantically waving on medical staff straight after the attack.

Ribeiro’s club, Sao Paulo-RS, were supposed to be celebrating their 113th anniversary.

We offer all the apologies in the world to the referee and his family, just as we apologise to the fans … for the pitiful scene,” said the club in a statement.

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Sao Paulo-RS said they had sacked Ribeiro and would be taking legal action against him.

The match was suspended in the 59th minute with Guarani leading 1-0, and is due to resume from that point on Tuesday night.

The local football federation said it would look into punishing Ribeiro, while the regional refereeing union demanded the player be banned from football. 

© – AFP, 2021

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