“The time has come to say that I am gay”

It shouldn't be news in the 21st century but the Norwegian referee Tom Harald Hagen has made his sexual orientation public. “The time has come to say that I am gay. Only positive things will come from this. For me, it has always been a completely natural part of life. You ask me if I have been thinking about this for a while, but I have not. “The referee, 44, is surprised by the avalanche of messages from people linked to football who have left a message. what Hagen had just done in a world as hermetic as football.

Hagen, in an interview in the local newspaper Glamdalen, decided to share publicly that he is gay. Ironically, the interview saw the light this Monday night when the referee directed last weekend the clash between Valerenga and Kristiansund where there was allegedly a homophobic insult (he called him a “fag”) towards Valerenga coach Dag-Eilev Fagermo by Kristiansund striker Flamur Kastrati. His club has announced that it will sanction him. Meanwhile, the footballer has apologized to the coach. The coach has apologized to the player and has requested that he not receive a harsh punishment.

“It is the height of irony that I just led that party,” said Hagen, who was unaware of the incident during the meeting. “Perhaps the player said it on a whim, that can happen in football. But we really have to get rid of these things. “ The coach also wanted to join that avalanche of messages: “I have not always been so fond of him as a referee. But this is impressive and very well done. I have a lot of respect for him.”

Hagen has been international and is among the Top-3 of the best referees in Norwegian football. To Real Sociedad refereed him in the 2013-14 Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen (defeat by 0-1). Like Valencia, a year before, against BATE Borisov (4-2). He has also directed qualifying matches for World Cups and Euro Cups.