The European football body UEFA on Tuesday declined a request from Munich to light its football stadium in the rainbow colors of the Pride flag when Germany meets Hungary at the European Football Championships – recently proposed in protest of critics of the Hungarian law. One act says used to target the LGBT community.
The governing body, UEFA, said the political nature of the request to light up stadium in rainbow colors was in violation of its rules. “Given the political context of this specific request – a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA should decline this request,” the organization said in a statement. Neither team commented on the controversy.
The proposal has found widespread support in Germany, which ranks 16th in an EU-funded survey of the 49 most LGBTQ-friendly countries in Europe and boasts vibrant gay communities in its larger cities, including Munich, Cologne, and Berlin. Hungary ranks 27th in the annual survey on human rights and equality.
UEFA has instead proposed that Munich light up the stadium in the colors of the rainbow on an alternate day, for example, when the Bavarian capital celebrates Pride – showing the city and the region has become an annual tradition since 2016.
Other teams in the German Football League have said they will light up their empty rainbow stadiums during Wednesday’s match. UEFA’s decision does not apply to their stadiums, as they do not host official tournament games.
The initial plan to illuminate the stadium in Munich during the championship was turquoise with a green stripe, the colors of UEFA, alternating with the colors of the respective opponents’ national flags on game days. The debate over the request has attracted officials from both countries.
“Mixing sport and politics is extremely harmful and dangerous,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Sizzarto told Hungary’s MTI news agency. “Historical experience shows that this is a bad thing, and the Germans know it very well.”