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Ref's attempted suicide stuns German clubs

Saturday's Bundesliga game between Cologne and Mainz was called off after the referee was found injured following what police called an apparent suicide attempt.

sports Updated: Nov 20, 2011 01:29 IST

Saturday's Bundesliga game between Cologne and Mainz was called off after the referee was found injured following what police called an apparent suicide attempt.

Babak Rafati was found in his hotel room Saturday morning "after sustaining injuries with no sign of any involvement by a third party," Cologne police spokesman Andre Fassbender told The Associated Press.

"It certainly looks like (a suicide attempt), yes."

Details on Rafati's condition were not immediately available. Cologne said it was told less than two hours before the game that Rafati was unavailable, and that a replacement referee could not be found at such short notice.

"Between 2 and 2:15pm we got the message that the referee was in an accident," Cologne sporting director Volker Finke said. "It's appropriate and correct that the game can't take place."

Mainz says the German Football League (DFL) canceled the game after consulting both clubs.

A new date had yet to be set for the game.

As a Fifa referee, Rafati had officiated Bundesliga games for six years and, with 84 matches under his belt, is an experienced German league referee.

The reason behind his attempted suicide is unknown, but comes just two years after Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke took his own life on November 10 2009 having battled with depression for years.

Torres hitting form, says Villas-Boas
Fernando Torres is approaching the sort of form for Chelsea that made him a fans' favourite at Liverpool, according to his current manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Torres heads into Sunday's Premier League match against his former club at Stamford Bridge having convinced his manager he is over his initial difficulties in adjusting to a new team and surroundings.

The Spain international was quoted during the international break as saying his move to London from Liverpool was difficult because the city was too big to manage and there was a lack of fellow Spanish speakers at Chelsea.

Torres last scored a goal in the Premier League almost two months ago, but his progress has been hampered by a three-match suspension following a red card against Swansea on September 24.

But Villas-Boas believes his forward has improved greatly from last season, when he struggled for form following a £50million transfer from Anfield last January.

"I think Fernando has, of course, picked up from last season not only with his form, physically, but also his availability and movement for the team," said Villas-Boas.