Erfolg vor Gericht: Gräfe erhält Entschädigung wegen Altersdiskriminierung
Manuel Gräfe was successful with his lawsuit against the German Football Association (DFB). According to the judgment of the Frankfurt district court, the former referee received compensation of 48,500 euros for age discrimination. Under the direction of judge Wilhelm Wolf, the chamber saw it as proven that age “did not play a completely unimportant role” in the disregard of the Berliner for the list of referees for the 2021/22 season. The judgment can still be challenged before the Higher Regional Court.
The ex-referee had originally demanded damages of 194,905 euros from the DFB for not taking it into account. The court did not meet the demand for this amount because Gräfe would have had “no guarantee of a certain number of operations” even if he had referred to the list. “The amount is in reasonable proportion to the damage suffered,” said Judge Wolf.
Gräfe had already received 70,000 euros before the trial for the use of his personal rights. Even if there is no official age limit in the rules of the DFB, there are “enough indications” that this is practiced in reality, the reasoning for the judgment said: “The age of the defendant was a contributing factor. It does not have to have been the sole cause , but it is one of several.”
End of career after 289 missions
Gräfe, who stayed away from the verdict, had to end his career as a referee at the end of the 2020/2021 season after 289 appearances in the upper house at the age of 47, despite a wave of protests from the Bundesliga. Even in the previous decades, no referee had whistled in the Bundesliga. An amicable agreement failed when the trial started in mid-November, and the two parties to the dispute were then able to submit written statements.
In order to reach an amicable agreement, Gräfe had insisted that age be recognized as the reason for his disembarkation. The DFB firmly rejected this.
The Berliner had always emphasized in court that his lawsuit was not necessarily about continuing his own career as a referee. Rather, he wanted to ensure a fundamental judgment for future generations.
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