A BRAZILIAN football manager has been sacked after headbutting a female assistant referee.
TV cameras captured the shocking moment Rafael Soriano lunged at pint-sized lineswoman Marcielly Netto as she intervened in his row with referee Arthur Gomes Rabelo.
Marcielly Netto is a lineswoman in the Espirito Santo region of Brazil
Manager Rafael Soriano was unhappy the half-time whistle came before his side could take a corner
He headbutted Netto after losing his cool – and has been sacked as a result
Soriano was protesting the ref’s decision to blow the whistle for half-time before his team could take a corner.
He was immediately red-carded as stunned Netto reeled back and put her hand to her nose to check for blood and injury.
Soriano’s club Desportivo Ferroviaria announced Soriano’s dismissal shortly afterwards following a bizarre attempt by the disgraced manager to deny the assault and claim Netto, who also works as a personal trainer, was using the fact she was a woman to take advantage of the situation.
The incident occurred during half-time of a regional cup match between Desportivo Ferroviaria, which has competed in Brazil’s top-flight Serie A league, and home side Nova Venecia in the south-eastern state of Espirito Santo.
Everton star Richarlison is one of Nova Venecia’s ambassadors and lends his image for marketing and sponsorship actions.
Desportivo Ferroviaria said in a statement after announcing it was cutting ties with Soriano: “We tried to contact the assistant referee Marcielly Netto by phone to offer our apologies and assistance but were unable to reach her.
“We reiterate our commitment to assist in whatever is necessary.
“The club will also offer professional psychological assistance and will carry out actions to combat all types of violence against women inside and outside football stadiums.”
The Espirito Santo regional Football Association has also launched an investigation into the incident, which happened on Sunday.
Before the headbutt, which fortunately did not appear to connect as Soriano might have intended, the referee was filmed showing a yellow card to a player who was also protesting the timing of the end of the first half.
The home side finished 3-1 winners and went through to the semi-finals of the regional cup competition.