Bundesliga referee Rafati stable after suicide attempt
COLOGNE, Germany - The Associated Press
In this file photo, Rafati (L) walks beside Werder Bremen’s Diego on Nov. 6, 2006. REUTERS photo
The president of the German Football Association (DFB), Theo Zwanziger, has revealed that referee Babak Rafati is in a stable condition in a Cologne hospital after what police believe was a suicide attempt.
Rafati was found bleeding in his hotel bathtub following an apparent suicide attempt hours before he was due to take charge of the game between Cologne and Mainz on Nov. 19.
The game was called off after Babak Rafati was found in his hotel room earlier Saturday “after sustaining injuries with no sign of any involvement by a third party,” Cologne police spokesman Andre Fassbender told The Associated Press.
“It certainly looks like (a suicide attempt), yes,” Fassbender said.
Zwanziger said Rafati’s condition was stable but that he would need “intensive treatment” and be hospitalized for some time.
Zwanziger said the referee’s three assistants told him that they had tried unsuccessfully to reach Rafati by phone two hours before kickoff to prepare for the match. When he didn’t respond to knocks on his door, they got hotel staff to open the door.
Zwanziger said Rafati was “lying in the bathtub and a lot of blood could be seen.” Everything was “fully normal” when the assistants met Rafati on Friday evening, and they told Zwanziger that it was not unusual for him not to meet them for breakfast as “it was often so.”
The 41-year-old Rafati has been a referee for the DFB since 1997 and a top-division referee since 2005. He has taken charge of 84 Bundesliga matches and been a FIFA referee since 2008.