Italian referee Daniele De Santis and his partner Eleonora Manta have been stabbed to death at their home.
The violent attack has created shockwaves around Italy, where De Santis was a well-respected official in Serie C.
Witnesses reported seeing a man fleeing the scene in Lecce holding a knife.
The identity and motives of the perpetrator are still unclear, although it is also understood that certain witnesses heard Manta shouting the name of the attacker.
Of De Santis, the Italian refereeing association released a statement calling him “a brave and humble man, and a promising referee”.
De Santis was due to officiate a Coppa Italia tie on Thursday between Monopoli and Modena.