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Turkish Football Federation Condemned for Sacking Gay Referee
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of December 31, 2015) On December 29, 2015, a court in Instanbul condemned the Turkish Football Federation for sacking a gay referee. This is a first in the Turkish football (soccer).
Halil İbrahim Dinçdağ was a referee in the Turkish amateurs league until 2008. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF, Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu) refused to renew his license for 2009 because there had been rumors about him being gay.
After his dismissal, Halil İbrahim Dinçdağ came out of the closet publicly in a TV show in 2009 – and lost his job as a radio moderator as well. He moved to Istanbul to live in the anonymity of the big city but could not find a job there either because people new about his homosexuality by then.
Dinçdağ had been discharged from the army due to his homosexuality (officially called “psychosexual trouble”). The TFF referred to this fact and used it as an excuse for sacking him as a referee.
After the TFF vice president had called Dinçdağ a second-class referee, the Turkish Association of Football Referees publicly offered its support.
The former referee, now 39 years old, challenged his sacking before court, and the legal battle took six years. More details on Halil İbrahim Dinçdağ and this case can be found on the corresponding Wikipedia pages (TR | DE | EN | ES).
The court ordered the TFF to pay a compensation of 23,000 Turkish Liras (about €7,200). However, the judgment does not oblige the Federation to rehire Dinçdağ.
Comment: Unfortunately, this court decision only has a symbolic value for the most part. Nevertheless, the court acknowledged that this is a case of discrimination.
A small compensation of some thousand euro after a legal battle of six years is not likely to keep other employers from discriminating against employees.
This case caused quite a stir in Turkey but it also showed how deeply encrusted homophobia is in football and in the Turkish society itself.
The battle must continue – until the final whistle!