A Brazilian footballer, William Riberio has been charged with attempted murder after kicking a referee in the head.

William Ribeiro of Sao Paulo de Rio Grande was playing in the second division against Guarani de Venancio when he attacked referee Rodrigo Crivellaro.

Ribeiro forced the official to the ground before violently booting him in the head when a ruling went against him.

As the game was paused and armed police approached to arrest him, he had to be restrained by fellow players.

Crivellaro was knocked unconscious and is believed to have sustained brain and spine injuries as a result of the heinous attack.

He informed reporters after being released from the hospital on Tuesday morning that he has no recall of the incident.

Ribeiro's contract was promptly cancelled by Sao Paulo de Rio Grande, who described it as one of the "saddest moments in their history" and "unfortunate, disappointing, and above all repulsive."

On their 123rd anniversary as a club, President Delvid Goulart Pereira stated, “We are sorry and deeply ashamed,”

"We send all the apologies in the world to the 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 has been terminated.

Later, a magistrate verified that Ribeiro had been charged with attempted murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail in Brazil.

However, it is unclear if he would be released on bail or remain in custody until his trial.

"His attack was really intense and brutal, kicking the referee in the head and making him pass out," local police investigator Vinicius Assuno told journalists.

"There was no way for the referee to justify himself."

The game was eventually called off on Tuesday, with Sao Paulo losing 1-0.

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