UEFA has rejected a request from the mayor of Munich to light up the city’s football stadium in rainbow colors for the Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary on Wednesday. Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter has said he wants to light up the stadium to protest a new Hungarian law banning the broadcast of material in schools promoting homosexuality and gender change.
The stadium, known as the Allianz Arena, which houses Bayern Munich, has been set up to allow illumination of the entire outdoor arena and roofs in different colors. UEFA in a statement suggested alternate dates for gestures during the tournament.
“UEFA is, by its statutes, a politically and religiously neutral organization. Given the political context of this specific request – a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA should reject this request,” the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.
“However, UEFA has proposed to Munich to light up the stadium in rainbow colors between June 28 – Christopher Street Liberation Day – or July 3 to 9, which is Munich’s Christopher Street Day.” The events of Christopher Street Day are held in memory of a gay uprising in New York in 1969. The German Football Association (DFB) said on Monday that it would give preference to any protest or gesture on a date other than Wednesday’s match.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday that “mixing politics and sport is harmful and dangerous. There have been few attempts in world history to do this and they have ended very badly.”
“Everybody knows what it is about, we have passed a law in Hungary to protect Hungarian children and there are protests in Western Europe and they try to express it by trying to bring politics to an event. When that sporting event has nothing to do with the national legislature,” he said.
“I think it hurts a lot, experience in history shows that it is wrong and I think the Germans know it, if there is one, they certainly know it very well. So mixing sports and politics is wrong.” UEFA said it was involved in a series of campaigns for diversity and inclusion “to promote the ethos that football should be open to all”.
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