UEFA has declined a request to illuminate Munich’s Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the Germany v Hungary match because it believes the gesture has a political context.
European football’s governing body said it received the request from the mayor of the German city, Dieter Reiter, on Monday.
UEFA said that the mayor’s reason for the request was a response to legislation passed in Hungary banning gay people from appearing in school educational materials or programmes for under-18s.
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On that basis, UEFA said it could not grant the request and proposed alternative dates for the stadium to be lit up in rainbow colours.
“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 from UEFA read.
“Discriminatory behaviour has marred both matches themselves and, outside the stadiums, the online discourse around the sport we love.
“However UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organisation. 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 proposed the Allianz Arena be lit up in rainbow colours on either June 28 – the Christopher Street Liberation Day – or between July 3 and 9 which is the Christopher Street Day week in Munich.
The decision on stadium illumination follows an announcement from UEFA on Sunday that Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer would not face action over a rainbow armband he wore during the games against France and Portugal.
Neuer wore the armband to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month, prompting UEFA to investigate whether it could be viewed as a political statement.
But UEFA concluded there was no case to answer, given the 35-year-old was “promoting a good cause”.