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German ref attempts suicide before game

  • AFP, Monday, November 21, 2011 1:12 AM

The German Bundesliga game between FC Cologne and Mainz was postponed after the man assigned to referee the game attempted to kill himself hours before kickoff.

The 41-year-old Babak Rafati was found by his assistant referees in the bathtub of his Cologne hotel. He had slit his wrists and was sent to the intensive care unit in a Cologne hospital.

"He never spoke to me about depression or burnout," said his father, Djalal Rafati. "If he had done that, I would have reacted,"  told Cologne newspaper Express.
"He was very happy (being a referee). I had had eye surgery a few days before, so I couldn't go to Cologne, that was why I wasn't with him. I can't understand why Babak did this."

A referee in Germany's top-flight league since 2005, Rafati had been criticized in the past by players and there is an Anti Babak Rafati page on Facebook. He was removed from Germany's list of FIFA referees for international games in September and had been voted the worst referee in the Bundesliga three times by German magazine Kicker.

Read the whole story at AFP »

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