- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2011

COLOGNE, GERMANY (AP) - A referee in Germany’s Bundesliga was found bleeding in his hotel bathtub following an apparent suicide attempt hours before he was due to take charge of Saturday’s game between Cologne and Mainz.

The game was postponed when 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 Preess.

“It certainly looks like (a suicide attempt), yes,” Fassbender said.

German Football Federation (DFB) president Theo 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.”

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.

Cologne said a replacement referee for Saturday’s match could not be found at such short notice.