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Turkish Football Federation fined for sacking gay referee

Halil Ibrahim Dincdag, Turkey's first openly gay referee, receives justice for his 2009 sacking. The Turkish Football Federation now faces a significant fine, one that could increase after an appeal.

A court in Istanbul has ordered the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to pay compensation after it revoked a referee license from a local referee on the grounds of his homosexuality.

The TFF dismissed referee Halil Ibrahim Dincdag in 2009 after he had been a referee in Trabzon region on the Black Sea for 13 years. Because Dincdag was exempt from military service due to his homosexuality, the federation claimed he was "unfit" to be a referee.

"This lawsuit was a case in favor of all people who suffered injustice and discrimination," Dincdag told the Diken online news website.

"Winning this case was really something very important. The court has now confirmed that my fight was a right," Dincdag continued. "I hope that this decision sets a precedent for similar cases. This is a victory."

The Istanbul court ordered the TFF to pay 23,000 Turkish lira (7,200 euros, $7,900) in material and moral compensation to Dincdag. The figure is less than the 110,000 Turkish lira (35,000 euros, $38,000) Dincdag's side was seeking, and Dincdag's lawyer Firat Soyle promised to appeal the verdict to be awarded the full amount of compensation they are demanding.

"We are happy that justice has been done but we are going to appeal regarding the figure to be paid," the lawyer said, quoted by Turkish media. "Given the moral and material damages suffered, it is a small figure."

dv / (AFP)