Does politics have its place in a Euro football stadium? For UEFA, the answer is clear: it’s no. The European body refused Tuesday, June 22 the project of the city of Munich to illuminate its stadium in the rainbow colors of the LGBT community on the occasion of the Euro Germany-Hungary match on Wednesday (9 p.m.) . The aim of the project was to protest against a law deemed discriminatory recently passed in Hungary.
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“By its statutes, UEFA is a politically and religiously neutral organization”, explains the European confederation. “Given the political context of this request – a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must refuse this request”, she justifies.
Hungary greeted on Tuesday “A good decision” through the voice of its Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with his European counterparts in Luxembourg. Present at the same meeting, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune declared ” to regret “ in the name of France this refusal.
– France in the EU (@RPFranceUE) June 22, 2021
11,000 flags distributed to spectators
In response to the position of the European body, which it considers “Shameful”, the city of Munich has indicated that it will decorate other buildings in the city –The Town Hall, a tower and a mill located near the stadium – in rainbow colors on match day. “We will not allow ourselves to be prevented from sending a clear signal to Hungary and to the world”, said city mayor Dieter Reiter.
The organizers of the Munich Pride March, associated with Amnesty International, for their part, have planned to hand out 11,000 rainbow flags to some of the match’s 14,000 spectators.
In its decision, UEFA, which says “Understand that the intention is also to send a message to promote diversity and inclusion”, proposed alternative dates for the stadium lighting.
A rainbow armband on the arm of the German captain
In Germany, where the controversy has taken the name of “rainbow gate”, other solidarity initiatives are flourishing. The private German channel ProSieben has decided to dress its logo in rainbow colors. Football clubs in Frankfurt and Cologne have also announced that they will light up their own stadiums in the evening in these colors.
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In addition, the German Federation had confirmed Monday that UEFA had given the green light to the wearing of a rainbow captain’s armband by Manuel Neuer. The European body said it saw no reason to sanction Germany “Considering that this gesture promotes a good cause”.