In conjunction with the suicide attempt of the German FIFA referee Babak Rafati, the Swedish top referee Jonas Eriksson (r.) has claimed a fundamental change of thinking with regard to the role of referees in football and the way respect is shown towards them.
In an interview with a Swedish daily paper, Eriksson emphasized that he knew Rafati from several UEFA seminars and stated that it was "a tragedy for the human Babak Rafati".
Even though Eriksson does not know the real reasons behind Rafati's hopelessness (which are - today - unfolding to be of personal nature), he admonished everyone "to be aware of the fact how one can damage referees when putting the blame on them". He further explained that "criticism [was] our daily bread and that the pressure [was] sometimes unbearable. I admonish everyone, to think about that."
He also exposed that they "are just people [and that] no-one is trying to do his job badly."
I am content that some of the referees finally speak. However, I actually wonder why only something really terrible must happen until one talks about the issue of pressure in football..