Bundesliga referee Babak Rafati diagnosed with depression

The 41-year-old has been struggling with the strains of his job in the wake of his suicide attempt but is eager to return to normal life and begin refereeing matches again.
Bundesliga referee Babak Rafati has been diagnosed with depression in the wake of his suicide attempt last weekend.

The 41-year-old was due to officiate Koln's clash with Mainz but was found bleeding in his bathtub hours before kickoff.

Earlier this week, his father stated that Rafati's condition was improving, and now it has emerged that depression was the cause behind his attempted suicide.

"Growing pressure for him to perform as a referee and the media pressure linked to that, combined with the constant fear of making mistakes, became a bigger and bigger burden," a statement from lawyer Sven Menke read. "This burden, at some point, made everyday problems seem insoluble and, in the end, he no longer felt able to cope with it."

Rafati is intent on making a swift return to health, and has not given up on refereeing despite the imminent loss of his FIFA-listed status.

"He has decided to deal openly with the illness and face it. He wants to return to his normal life, as a referee too," Menke added.

Meanwhile, the match between Koln and Mainz has been rescheduled for Dec. 13.

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