Football’s governing body in Europe has rejected a request from Munich’s mayor to light up the stadium hosting Germany’s Euro 2020 match against Hungary in rainbow colours, “given the political context”.
Mayor Dieter Reiter had asked to illuminate the Allianz Arena to resemble a pride flag, to protest a new law in Hungary banning gay people from featuring in educational materials in schools or TV programmes targeting under-18s.
“Given the political context of this specific request – a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must decline this request,” UEFA said in a statement.
UEFA, which has proposed alternative dates for the Allianz Arena to be illuminated in rainbow colours, said it understood “that the intention is also to send a message to promote diversity and inclusion – a cause, which UEFA has been supporting for many years – having joined forces with European clubs, national teams and their players, launching campaigns and plenty of activities all over Europe to promote the ethos that football should be open to everyone.”
Manuel Neuer wearing a rainbow coloured armband after Germany's Euro 2020 match against Portugal. Photo: Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images
"Racism, homophobia, sexism, and all forms of discrimination are a stain on our societies – and represent one of the biggest problems faced by the game today. Discriminatory behaviour has marred both matches themselves and, outside the stadiums, the online discourse around the sport we love,” the UEFA statement added.
Hungary’s ruling party, Fidesz, has waged a war on LGBTQ rights in Hungary since coming to power, in what it calls a defence of “Christian values”. In addition to the recently passed law, last year Hungary’s government ended gender recognition for transgender people and ensured that only heterosexual married couples can adopt children.
UEFA’s decision concerning the Allianz Arena comes after Germany captain Manuel Neuer was told he would not face disciplinary action from UEFA for wearing a rainbow armband during Euro 2020 games against France and Portugal.
But Hungary is still under investigation over “potential discriminatory incidents” after anti-LGBTQ banners were seen in the crowd during games against Portugal and France at Budapest’s Puskas Arena.