Request to light up Munich stadium rejected by UEFA
August 3, 2021
Sport

Request to light up Munich stadium rejected by UEFA

MANCHESTER (ENGLAND) – A request from the mayor of Munich to lit up city’s stadium in rainbow colours for Wednesday’s Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary has been rejected by UEFA.

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter had said he wanted to light up the stadium in the colours in protest against a new law in Hungary that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change and restricts the media from showing content with homosexuality in programming accessible to minors.

The stadium, known as the Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, is configured to allow the entire external area and roofing to be lit up in various colours.

In a statement, UEFA suggested alternative dates for the gesture during the tournament.

“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,” the organisation said in a statement on Tuesday.

“UEFA has nevertheless proposed to the city of Munich to illuminate the stadium with the rainbow colours on either 28 June – the Christopher Street Liberation Day – or between 3 and 9 July which is the Christopher Street Day week in Munich.”

Christopher Street Day events are held in memory of an uprising by homosexuals in New York in 1969.

The German Football Association (DFB) had said on Monday that it would also prefer any protest or gesture to be held on a date other than Wednesday.

German Europe Minister Michael Roth told reporters ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg on Tuesday that the Hungary’s new law clearly violates European Union values.

The Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto had said on Monday that “mixing politics and sport” was “harmful and dangerous” and he welcomed the UEFA decision.

“Thank God that in the circles of European football leadership common sense still prevails and they did not play along with the political provocation.

“I think, no, I can say that the leadership of UEFA made the right decision when they decided not to play along with the political provocation against Hungary,” he said.

UEFA said it was involved in a number of campaigns around diversity and inclusion “to promote the ethos that football should be open to everyone”.

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