UEFA defends banning Allianz Arena in rainbow illumination

Sports Desk, Jun 23 (EFE).- UEFA on Wednesday defended its decision not to permit the illumination of the Allianz Arena in rainbow colors in for Germany’s Euro 2020 game against Hungary, stating that the request was political.

“Some people have interpreted UEFA’s decision to turn down the city of Munich’s request to illuminate the Munich stadium in rainbow colours for a EURO 2020 match as ‘political’,” a UEFA statement said.

“On the contrary, the request itself was political, linked to the Hungarian football team’s presence in the stadium for this evening’s match with Germany,” the statement read.

The Munich city council explicitly said the request was aimed to show solidarity with Hungary’s increasingly marginalized LGBTQI+ community.

Last week, the ultra-nationalist Hungarian government, which has an absolute majority in Parliament, passed a controversial bill that would prohibit, among other things, talking about homosexuality in school.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday described the bill as a “shame.”

The European soccer governing body said it was “proud to wear the colours of the rainbow,” which represents “a sign of our firm commitment to a more diverse and inclusive society.”

UEFA ban was subjected to a barrage of criticism, including Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas who on Wednesday said it was “very difficult to understand.”

“Frankly, I do not find any reasonable excuse for that. UEFA themselves were with us at the forefront of campaigns for inclusion, anti-racism (…) They supported all the good causes and all of a sudden, they make an issue out of this,” he added. EFE


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