Age limit: court dispute with DFB: ex-referee Gräfe receives compensation

The former top referee Manuel Gräfe receives compensation of 48,500 euros in the legal dispute with the German Football Association due to age discrimination.

Age limit: court dispute with DFB: ex-referee Gräfe receives compensation

The former top referee Manuel Gräfe receives compensation of 48,500 euros in the legal dispute with the German Football Association due to age discrimination.

However, the 49-year-old Berliner has no right to be included on the list of Bundesliga referees again. This application for a declaration was wrongly made. The verdict was announced by Wilhelm Wolf as President of the Regional Court in Frankfurt/Main. The core of the process was the age limit of 47 years practiced by the DFB for referees in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga.

Gräfe had to end his Bundesliga career last year after 289 appearances due to age restrictions. He had sued the association, which he had publicly criticized several times in recent months, for damages of 190,000 euros. However, the primary goal of the lawsuit is that "I would like to have it verified that age was the way to get rid of me," Graefe emphasized during the hearing on November 16.

The DFB denies this. According to the court, the referee could not provide any proof of performance, which is why he still belongs on the list of referees.

One day before the court ruling, former World Cup referee Felix Brych from Munich announced that he wanted to continue refereeing in the Bundesliga at the age of 48 after this summer. The age limit is not stipulated in the DFB statutes, but has been common practice for many years. DFB referee chief Fröhlich recently brought up a softening of the conversation. The 47 years should only be a point of reference.

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