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By ESPN Staff

Rafati diagnosed with depression

German referee Babak Rafati has confirmed that he is suffering from depression and that is what prompted him to attempt suicide last weekend.

The Hanover-based referee was found by his assistant officials in the bath tub of his hotel room covered in blood only hours before Cologne's Bundesliga fixture with Mainz last weekend. He was rushed to hospital, and was discharged a few days ago.

He is now receiving psychological care and has requested, in a statement made by his solicitor Dr Sven Menke, to be left in ''peace and quiet''.

''Together with his partner and his family, he has decided to inform the public of his reasons (for attempting to take his life),'' read the statement, which has been published by Germany's Bild newspaper. ''Mr Rafati has been diagnosed in recent days by doctors with a form of depression.

''The symptoms first appeared, according to his recollection, around one and a half years ago and they have since grown in intensity. Mr Rafati felt a growing pressure to perform combined with the media pressure together with the constant fear of making mistakes, and this was leading to an ever-increasing burden.

''This burden was even making daily routine problems seem insurmountable and he no longer felt able to cope. Mr Rafati has decided to go public with the illness and to face up to it. He has checked in for professional treatment to receive therapy for the causes.''

The length of the treatment, as with any case of depression, is unforeseeable, but the 41-year-old does hope to return ''to normal life'' as soon as possible. And that also means he would like to get back into refereeing.

''Babak Rafati would like to referee again at the end of this therapy,'' continued the statement. ''He is therefore requesting the peace and quiet which he now needs for his healing process.''

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