UEFA denies request to illuminate Allianz Arena in rainbow colours

UEFA has rejected a request from the city of Munich to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for tomorrow’s Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary.

Yesterday (Monday), the Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter requested that the stadium be illuminated in rainbow colours for the match. UEFA said that Reiter’s request was submitted in response to a “political decision” taken by the Hungarian parliament.

A new law in Hungary bans the sharing of any content that is seen to promote homosexuality and gender change to people under the age of 18. June is Pride month and Reiter’s plans to illuminate the Allianz Arena were designed to give an “important and visible sign of solidarity” towards the LGBTQ community in Hungary.

UEFA said in a statement today that it understands that the intention of the move is to send a message to “promote diversity and inclusion”. The request to illuminate the stadium for tomorrow’s match has nevertheless been declined.

UEFA’s statement added: “Racism, homophobia, sexism, and all forms of discrimination are a stain on our societies – and represent one of the biggest problems faced by the game today. Discriminatory behaviour has marred both matches themselves and, outside the stadiums, the online discourse around the sport we love.

“However 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.

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

Germany captain Manuel Neuer wore a rainbow armband during his country’s 4-2 win against Portugal on Saturday. UEFA had been investigating whether his actions could be viewed as a political statement but Neuer ultimately did not face any disciplinary action.

Ahead of the release of UEFA’s statement, the board spokesman for Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt called on stadiums across Germany to illuminate in rainbow colours if the Allianz Arena was not able to do so.

Axel Hellman tweeted yesterday that Eintracht’s Deutsche Bank Park would switch to rainbow colours for tomorrow’s match and is urging other venues to follow suit.

“If Munich is not allowed to be on Wednesday, then the other stadiums in the country have to show their colours,” Hellman said.

Image: Herr Bohn on Unsplash