World Cup referee Sandro Ricci (44) and former assistant referee Fernanda Colombo (27) announced live on TV that they are engaged and will soon be getting married. Invited to participate in a Brazilian TV show, the two of them were holding hands all the time, even when the other participants played tricks.
Ricci revealed that they will be getting married in August, after the World Cup. Asked how they met, Sandro said it was because of the work in common, refereeing, but not on the field. "We did not have the opportunity to work together. We met once in these hotels that the referees usually stays. It was even here in São Paulo, but it was just a normal, formal presentation, and after a while we contacted each other again. I mean, I went after her", he recalls. "Even when I went to the Pernambuco Federation, Sandro, who was in the Pernambuco Federation, went to Catarinense. So, we took opposite paths in the year that was for us to work together", added Fernanda.
Sandro Ricci was born on 19 November 1974. In March 2013, after two other Brazilian pre-selected referees (Seneme and Vuaden) failed their fitness tests, Ricci was added to the candidate referees list for the 2014 World Cup. He followed a strict preparation program and made the final list for the World Cup hosted by his home country, only 3 years after becoming a FIFA referee. He will likely attend his second World Cup this summer in Russia.
Born on 24 April 1991, Fernanda Colombo began working as an assistant referee in 2010 and was recognised by FIFA four years later. But sexism within the sport plagued her and marred the achievement. In February 2017, she retired her flag and went on to write a book on football rules called "Exposed in a More Playful Way", and is looking for a publisher to release it. She explained: "I have new priorities in life. I still love football and refereeing, and will follow new projects in the sport. My goal now is to launch the book and work in sports journalism. Fernanda was heavily criticised for flagging Cruzeiro star Alisson offside when through on goal in a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Mineiro in 2014. Speaking to Globo, Cruzeiro chief Alexandre Mattos blasted: "The woman AR is pretty, but she is not ready. The guys scream and she misses. If she is pretty, go pose for Playboy, not work in football." The next year, Fernanda switched from the Catarinense Federation to the Pernambucana, but controversy followed her. "Unfortunately, mistakes will always be more remembered than the correct ones".