Turkey’s first openly gay referee Dinçdağ who was sacked wins lawsuit against football federation

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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Turkey’s first openly gay referee Dinçdağ who was sacked wins lawsuit against football federation

A Turkish referee who was dismissed by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) due to his sexual orientation won his case against the federation on Tuesday for not allowing him to referee a single match held since 2009. The TTF will accordingly pay TL 3,000 ($1,031) and TL 20,000 to the referee for material and moral indemnities respectively.

Halil İbrahim Dinçdağ (born 1976) was discriminated against by the TTF when he took a report of exemption from military service due to his sexual orientation. Dinçdağ had been a football referee in Trabzon for 13 years in 2009 when he was informed that his referee license would not be renewed.

The official reason given to Dinçdağ for his dismissal was that those who do not complete their national military service due to "diseases" cannot be a referee. In fact though Dinçdağ had begun his military service in the autumn of 2008, he was discharged from the Military Medical Academy, due to his record, which said on that he had a "psychosexual disorder", in other words, he is homosexual.

Soon after his discharge from the military service, Dinçdağ was dismissed by the Turkish Football Association, as a result of which his homosexuality was heavily publicized. He then also lost his job as a radio presenter, and faced further discrimination by various groups, which made it very hard for him to find a job.

Resultantly, Dinçdağ filed a lawsuit against the TTF on the grounds that homosexuality is not considered a "disease" by the Constitution and therefore he could not be discriminated against based on that.

An Istanbul court decided on Tuesday that the TTF would pay TL 3,000 ($1,031) and TL 20,000 for material and moral indemnities respectively. Dinçdağ's lawyer Fırat Söyle told reporters that he and his client were happy for "justice has been served", but that they would appeal the awarded amount since they had asked for TL 110,000 compensation in total.

"December 29, 2015 (Tuesday) is a victory in struggle against homophobia in football and LGBT movement in Turkey," he said.

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