UEFA declines request to light up Allianz Arena in protest

UEFA has turned down a request to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours to mark Germany’s final group stage fixture of the 2020 European Championships against Hungary on Wednesday.

Munich Mayor, Dieter Reiter, had asked to light up the Bundesliga stadium in protest against a new law passed in Hungary which prevents the sharing of content which is seen to promote homosexuality or gender change in school educational materials or programmes for those under the age of 18.

However, UEFA has rejected the request due to the ‘political context’ and instead put forward alternative dates for the Allianz to be lit up, including the annual LGBTQ+ Christopher Street Liberation day on 28 June or Christopher Street Day week in Munich from 3 to 9 July.

“UEFA understands that the intention is also to send a message to promote diversity and inclusion – a cause, which UEFA has been supporting for many years – having joined forces with European clubs, national teams and their players, launching campaigns and plenty of activities all over Europe to promote the ethos that football should be open to everyone,” the football governing body said in a statement.

“And consequently, UEFA has proposed alternative dates for the illumination which align better with existing events.

“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.”

The decision was welcomed by the German Football Association (DFB), which echoed that it would prefer any protest to take place on any other date than Wednesday when Germany and Hungary go head-to-head in Group F.

Similarly, the country’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, expressed concerns that ‘mixing politics and sport’ could be ‘harmful and dangerous’.

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