Rafati: "I have been wronged"

After his suicide attempt from 2011 that brought him to a near-death situation, ex-referee Babak Rafati has broken his silence and made serious accusations against his former boss at the German Football Federation (DFB). In an exclusive interview with Stern, the 42-year old former FIFA referee said that he had been "wronged" before his suicide attempt and he made his former chief, the Chairman of the German Referees Committee, Herbert Fandel, responsible for his attempted suicide.
"When Herbert Fandel came in as my new boss, I have got absolutely no backing anymore. I used to learn how to cope with objective criticism, but not with personal attacks", said Rafati. He did not find any encouragement, but only experienced "cold" and "relentlessness" from Fandel. "This lack of respect for me as a human being, this withdrawal of confidence from the boss, who also had a duty of care, affected me very much. That was deflating", said Rafati (photo) in his conversation with Stern. A statement by his former boss had traumatized him so deeply that he attempted suicide on 19 November 2011. Rafati ruled out that Fandel was not informed about his unstable condition: "He knew exactly how I was hurt and the other referees knew the vilification by Fandel was the talk of the day". After the suicide attempt, moreover, no one from the leadership of the DFB tried to personally contact him, not even the former federation president Theo Zwanziger. Rafati: "That made me extremely upset afterwards. That showed me that they did not care about me”.
Herbert Fandel told Stern that Rafati’s allegations affect him emotionally. “At no time I had any knowledge of his mental illness. No one among the referees ever made hints or comments in this direction. I treated Babak Rafati like every other referee, on merit, based on professional football criteria". (
Source: Stern)

Bundesliga referees opinions
Wolfgang Stark: "I know both Herbert Fandel and Babak Rafati for a long time, but I cannot say anything about their personal relationship. I am personally never happy when I am criticized by Mr. Fandel for my matches, but I have to accept it. I can say that the criticism from Herbert Fandel - or Volker Roth in the past - is always objective and always takes place in person. I also know that, at any time, but especially in difficult situations, I can have the backing of the Referees Committee and particularly Herbert Fandel".
Deniz Aytekin: "The Referees Committee led by Herbert Fandel maintains an open and respectful relationship with referees. The rank and name of the referee does not matter. The mistakes made are consistently analyzed, professionally and detailed, by the Referees Committee in Germany. It is not an easy task to prepare and develop referees. Personally, I never heard any hurtful remarks by a member of the Referees Committee. Herbert Fandel is a good boss, who, like the other members of the Committee, promotes and demotes referees, which is a necessary process".
Knut Kircher: "Refereeing in professional leagues is a tough business. Like any other public activity, there is praise and criticism. This happens, as elsewhere, mostly by the leadership, in this case, the members of the Referees Committee. I can personally say that the criticism that each referee gets in his career is very objective and well-founded. But you can become a member of the Referees Committee and you are never quite sure how the criticism, as justified as it may be, is taken up by the human concerned officials". (Source: DFB)