Gay Turkish referee calls for backing in fight against dismissal04 June 2009

A Turkish referee has been forced to step down after his homosexuality was revealed through a medical report.

After days of debate on his future career in football, the referee who had to quit his job due to his sexual orientation appeared on Turkish television and revealed his name for the first time.

Participating in a football show on Kanaltürk, referee Halil İbrahim Dinçdağ said that he would continue his legal battle.

Dinçdağ was forced to leave his job because he had been excused from his compulsory military service on account of his homosexuality, which was documented in a medical report.

According to the sport's regulations, anyone who fails to complete his military service for health reasons is unfit to perform as a referee.

“Now a really difficult period has started for my family, but it has always been difficult for me,” said Dinçdağ, 33, who appealed to colleagues who have been discriminated against as he was.

“Please stand tall against the unfairness against you, whenever something wrong is happening,” he said. “Say that it is wrong. Say what is right for you.”