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Suicidal German referee seemed happy, says father
The father of German referee Babak Rafati, who tried to kill himself hours before officiating a Bundesliga match, said on Sunday his son had seemed happy in the days leading up to his attempted suicide.
The experienced 41-year-old referee was found by his assistant referees in the bathtub of his Cologne hotel on Saturday afternoon, just a few hours before he was supposed to take charge of the match between Mainz and Cologne.
He had slit his wrists and is being treated in the intensive care unit in a Cologne hospital.
His father, Djalal Rafati, says there was no hint at his son's turmoil and that he had a steady job as a banker and was in a stable relationship.
"He never spoke to me about depression or burn-out. If he had done that, I would have reacted," Djalal Rafati 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."
On Saturday evening, Djalal spoke to his son for the first time since the suicide attempt.
"He just said, 'Dad, forgive me for what I have done' and I replied, 'of course, but now you have to recover first'."
Djalal said he was in contact with his son both on Friday evening and Saturday morning and admitted Babak had been not feeling well on the morning of his suicide attempt.
"He told me he'd call me back later, then hung up, both his girlfriend and her mother waited with me for the call."
Djala said his son was happy in his relationship.
"He had been together with his girlfriend for many years and was happy with her, she does everything for him and is a great woman. As far as I am concerned, that has nothing to do with what happened," he said.
Having first refereed Bundesliga games in 2005, Rafati has been criticised in the past by players and there is an Anti Babak Rafati page on social network site Facebook.
He was removed from Germany's list of FIFA referees, who officiate international games, in September this year and had been voted the worst referee in the Bundesliga three times by German football magazine Kicker.
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