June 22 – The mayor of Munich has described as “shameful” a ruling by UEFA to ban his city’s plans to illuminate the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours in support of LGBTQ+ rights for tonight’s Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 clash.
Munich city council and activists had requested the move in protest at legislation passed by Hungary’s hardline government banning gay people from featuring in school education or TV shows for under-18s.
UEFA argued the rainbow lights would contravene its rules about political and religious neutrality.
Football stadiums elsewhere in Germany, including in Cologne and Frankfurt, pledged to “fill the void” and light up instead.
Munich’s city council said it had wanted to illuminate the Allianz Arena in order to “send a signal of support for inclusivity and diversity”.
“I find it shameful that UEFA forbids us from setting an example for diversity, tolerance, respect and solidarity,” Rieter said, also denouncing the German football federation for refusing to support the initiative.
“The DFB, despite the overwhelming approval from all over the country, has not been willing to position itself to influence the result.”
UEFA said that due to the “political context” of the application, in other words “a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament”, the request had to be declined.
“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,” a statement insisted.
“Discriminatory behaviour has marred both matches themselves and, outside the stadiums, the online discourse around the sport we love.”
The home grounds of FC Cologne, Augsburg, VfL Wolfsburg, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt will all take part instead in some kind of lighting up ceremony.
Axel Hellmann, a senior board member at Eintracht, commented: “If Munich is not permitted to do it, then other stadia in the country must show our colours.”
In Saint Petersburg, Swedish coach Janne Andersson offered his own critical view of UEFA’s decision to reject Munich’s request to illuminate its stadium in rainbow colours at a news conference on the eve of his team’s final group E match with Poland. Sweden’s coach was unequivocal.
“It is a sad thing that in 2021 that we have to talk about these things even – as a human being you should just be allowed to live and love whoever you want. I think it is really strange. I myself have gone to the pride parades often. It is something we should take for granted. It should be granted that you can love whoever you want,” said Andersson.
Andersson however refrained from criticizing Nyon directly, adding that “you have to ask UEFA about the reasoning behind their rules.”
“I think it really bad that we even have to discuss the principles of this.”
When asked about the values of his national team,Andersson stressed that “everyone should have equal rights.”
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