A Brazilian footballer was arrested and sacked by his club after kicking a referee in the head during a second-division game, knocking him unconscious, authorities said.

Sport Club Sao Paulo’s William Ribeiro attacked the referee after he awarded a foul against the player during their away match at Guarani on Monday.

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Ribeiro kicked referee Rodrigo Crivellaro twice, the second time when the official lay on the ground.

The match was suspended and Crivellaro was taken to a local hospital, while Ribeiro was arrested at the stadium but later released on bail.

Crivellaro was released from the hospital on Tuesday morning and told journalists he is yet to see footage of the incident.

“His attack was very strong and violent, kicking the referee in the head and making him pass out,” local police investigator Vinicius Assuncao told journalists. “The referee had no chance of defending himself.”

The attack took place on Sport Club Sao Paulo’s 113th anniversary.

The club called the incident “one of the saddest in its history” and said it had summarily fired Ribeiro and was examining what further action it might take.

The small club from Rio Grande, a city of around 200,000 people approximately 200 miles south of the state capital Porto Alegre, play in the second division of the Rio Grande do Sul state championship.

Monday’s match was halted and restarted a day later with Guarani winning 1-0, the state football federation said.

Information from Reuters was also included in this report.