A German court ruled to compensate former referee Manuel Greif with 48,500 euros ($52,000), after he filed a case of age-based discrimination against the German Football Association, which ended his arbitration career due to age despite his desire to continue.

A Frankfurt court said on Wednesday that although Griff was entitled to compensation, the 49-year-old referee could not return to his arbitration work.

After reaching the age of 47, Greif filed a lawsuit against the German Federation - which specified 47 years for match referees - and demanded compensation of 190,000 euros.

The ruling opens the door for the German Federation to extend the lifespan of referees in stadiums, like its English counterpart, which allows referees to continue until they exceed 50 years as long as they pass medical and physical tests.

This ruling will also affect the federation’s response to the request of former German international referee Felix Bresch, who previously managed several matches in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, to remain a local referee in the German Football League (Bundesliga) competitions, despite his arrival at the age of 48.

Breish retired from international arbitration in 2021, despite continuing in local competitions.

The age of 47 was not specified as a maximum age for referees in the laws of the German Federation for the game, but this limit was common for many years.

And the federation recently confirmed that it might soften its position on the age limit for referees, and the fact that it was waiting for the ruling in the Griff case to determine its final position.


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Former French referee Michel Futro reviews some of the gifts he received during the period when he was directing the matches #Al-Kass_Channels pic.twitter.com/Pf8kcXF82f

— Al-Kass channels (@alkasschannel) October 6, 2022

A heart attack behind the reduction of the retirement age

Since the beginning of the nineties of the last century, the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) began several changes in the retirement ages of referees, as the injury of the former French international referee Michel Futro - who managed the opening match of the 1990 World Cup between Argentina and Cameroon - caused a heart attack during a fitness test;

In reducing the retirement age of referees from 50 to 45 years only, which caused many referees not to obtain the international badge around the world, and many of them were forced to retire as well.

French referee Michel Futro with the legend Maradona during his officiating the opening of the 1990 World Cup between Cameroon and Argentina.

🇦🇷 🇨🇲 pic.twitter.com/fGkoNzjqrK

— 🔴king CANTONA 🔴 (@sportmemories_) April 11, 2021

This amendment caused a new generation of international referees, who began to appear in the 1994 World Cup in the United States, and then the 1998 World Cup in France.

And after the end of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, FIFA returned to extend the age of international arbitration to 47 years, provided that they pass medical and physical exams like all referees, but rather opened the door for civil unions to pass this age as well.

Algerian international referee Jamal Hamoudi hastened to make the decision to retire after managing the third and fourth matches in the 2014 World Cup, on the grounds that it was his last World Cup, and he was not aware of the age extension that would have allowed him to referee in the 2018 World Cup Russia as well.

That is why we have seen referees in the World Cup who exceeded 45 years, the latest of which was Italian referee Daniele Orsato, who officiated the opening match of the 2022 World Cup between the Qatari national team and its Ecuadorian counterpart at Al-Bayt Stadium in Qatar.

  • Former international referee