UEFA declines Munich city council’s request for rainbow-colored stadium

UEFA said it understood the council’s intention to send a message to promote diversity and inclusion but stressed that it was “a politically and religiously neutral organization.”

UEFA on Tuesday declined plans by the city of Munich to have its stadium illuminated in rainbow colours for the Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 match.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter’s application on behalf of the council made clear it wanted to protest a law passed last week by Hungarian lawmakers that prohibits sharing with minors any content portraying homosexuality or sex reassignment. Human rights groups denounced this law as anti-LGBT discrimiantion.

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“UEFA is a politically and religiously neutral organisation,” said European football’s governing body in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s match.

“Given the political context of this request – a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must refuse.”

Germany’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community criticised UEFA’s stance.

“We find it very disconcerting how UEFA deals with values that should generally be accepted in society,” Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD), told AFP subsidiary SID.

“UEFA has not recognised the signs of the times – and it is clear to see which side it is taking with its decision.”

While UEFA rejected the request for the day of the match, it suggested alternative dates for June 28, which is Christopher Street Liberation Day, an annual celebration and demonstration held in various cities across Europe, or from July 3-9, the week of gay pride in Munich.

The last European Championship match in Munich takes place on July 2.

Disciplinary action against Germany skipper Manuel Neuer was not taken by UEFA for wearing a rainbow-coloured captain’s armband.