Munich city will be decked in rainbow colours after ‘shameful’ UEFA decision to ban stadium light display ahead of Germany-Hungary match protesting Hungarian ‘anti-gay’ laws
Germany left UEFA in no doubt what they thought about the decision to snub Munich’s request to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for today’s Euro 2020 game against Hungary.
Mats Hummels turned up for a pre-match press conference wearing a multi-coloured shirt branded with the slogan ‘love unites’ and spoke of the positive impact sportsmen and women can make on society.
Boss Joachim Low said he would have been ‘happy if the stadium was illuminated in rainbow colours’ and that it was important not only to provide ‘symbols’, but also to ‘live with these values’.
UEFA have blocked the request to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours on Wednesday
Dieter Reiter (pictured) branded UEFA ‘shameful’ as he announced plans to put up rainbow flag’s at the city’s town hall and illuminate a huge wind turbine close to the stadium
Hungary’s new ‘anti-LGBT’ law
Hungary’s new law is ostensibly designed to crack down on paedophilia, but critics argue amendments to it make a dangerous link between homosexuality and the abuse of minors.
The law prohibits sharing any content portraying homosexuality or sex reassignment to children under 18 in school sex education programs, films and advertisements.
Human rights groups have denounced the measure, saying it could be used to stigmatize and harass residents because of their sexual orientation or gender identities, and deprive young people of essential sex education information.
Thousands have protested in Hungary’s capital of Budapest against the measures.
A number of EU countries including Germany have condemned the law, and a joint statement was released on Tuesday voicing ‘grave concern’ about its impact on the LGBT community.
Last December homosexual couples were also effectively banned from adopting children, as part of Viktor Orban’s reforms.
Captain Manuel Neuer has promised he will continue to wear the rainbow armband, which briefly sparked a disciplinary investigation by UEFA before they back-tracked.
The armband is a statement not only from Neuer in Pride month, but from the entire team against hate and homophobia. The message was clear enough, even if the Germans had conceded defeat on the rainbow illumination plan.
‘I would have enjoyed it, personally,’ said Hummels. ‘Without wanting to cause any trouble, I’m a friend and I’m a supporter of messages like this to the world.
‘It should be accepted in sport. It should be normal. Every small symbol and gesture is a step in the right direction — that’s the message of the team.’
Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich, had been pushing to illuminate the stadium in his city as a direct response to legislation approved by Viktor Orban’s populist right-wing government in Hungary banning gay people from appearing in educational materials in schools or messages that promote gender change for under 18s.
European football’s governing body, which appears to be developing a cosy relationship with Hungary — as demonstrated by its position as a back-up choice for the Euro 2020 final — has dismissed the request because of its ‘political context’.
It instead proposed alternative dates for the stadium to be lit up and issued a flaky statement, which said: ‘UEFA understands 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.
‘And consequently, UEFA has proposed alternative dates for the illumination which align better with existing events.’
That stance has been ridiculed across football. Multiple Bundesliga clubs, including Wolfsburg, Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Cologne, have pledged to illuminate their stadiums during the game.
The mayor wanted to take a stand against a new law imposed by Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban (pictured) banning children’s content in schools that features gay or transgender people
France striker Antoine Griezmann also posted a picture of the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours with a rainbow emoji and a fist.
All of which made UEFA’s stance seem like another PR own goal by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
Munich mayor Reiter slammed the organisation and said: ‘I find it shameful that UEFA forbids us to send a message here in Munich for tolerance, respect and solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community.
UEFA recently abandoned an investigation into Manuel Neuer for wearing a rainbow armband
‘I am also very disappointed that the DFB (the German football federation), despite the unbelievably clear positioning here in Munich, has not achieved anything.’
Meanwhile, Georginio Wijnaldum will reiterate Holland’s anti- discrimination stance by wearing a special captain’s armband in their last 16 tie in Budapest on Sunday.
Wijnaldum’s armband will show the multi-coloured heart logo of the Dutch FA’s OneLove campaign launched last year.
Germany take on Hungary in their final Euro 2020 group game on Wednesday night in Munich
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