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Sao Paulo de Rio Grande footballer William Ribeiro was arrested and charged with attempted murder after kicking referee Rodrigo Crivellaro twice in the head.

On Monday, the 29-year-old midfielder kicked the victim whilst he laid on the ground during a game between Sao Paulo RS and Guarani de Venancio after the ref did not award his team a free kick. Following the altercation, Ribeiro was arrested and taken to a local police station. Currently, a judge is deliberating whether to grant Ribeiro bail or keep him remanded in custody whilst the authorities launch an investigation. 

Ribeiro’s former club president, Deivid Goulart Pereira, spoke on the situation, saying: “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. Furthermore, all possible and legal measures in relation to the incident will be taken.”

The match in question was suspended, and referee Crivellaro was hospitalised. Fortunately, the victim made a speedy recovery and got released from the hospital on Tuesday morning. When asked by the press, Crivellaro claimed he has yet to see footage of the incident.

Police investigator Vinicius Assuno said: “His attack was very strong and violent, kicking the referee in the head and making him pass out. The referee had no chance of defending himself.” 

In a statement from Sao Paulo RS, they claimed Ribeiro’s contract was terminated effective immediately. The suspended match is expected to resume next Tuesday.