German officials plan dazzling ‘message of solidarity’ with LGBT+ Hungarians for Euro 2020 match

Lily Wakefield June 21, 2021
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The Allianz arena lit with rainbow colours for Christopher Street Day, 2019

The Allianz arena in Munich lit with rainbow colours for Christopher Street Day, 2019. (AFP via Getty/ DPA/ TOBIAS HASE)

The mayor of Munich is seeking permission from UEFA to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the Germany v Hungary Euro 2020 game.

On Wednesday (23 June), Hungary will play Germany in its final group game, during which Munich’s mayor and city council want to make a strong statement against a new law that bans the “promotion” of LGBT+ issues passed by Viktor Orbán’s ruling party.

Last week, lawmakers in Hungary’s National Assembly passed a bill that makes it illegal to depict or discuss different gender identities and sexual orientations in schools, establishes a government-approved list sex education providers in schools and bans any LGBT+ content in advertising or media which could be seen by minors.

According to news agency dpa, Dieter Reiter, mayor of Munich, said on Sunday (20 June) that he would be writing to UEFA, which organises the game, to request permission for the rainbow lights at the Allianz Arena. He added: “This is an important sign of tolerance and equality.”

Munich council backs Allianz Arena being lit in rainbows for Hungary v Germany

The Munich city council has already called for the same thing in a cross-party motion which, according to The Guardian, read: “The Bavarian state capital supports diversity, tolerance and genuine equality in sport and in society.

“On the occasion of the match between Germany and Hungary, the council wishes to send a visible message of solidarity to the LGBT+ community in Hungary, which is suffering under recent legislation passed by the Hungarian government.

“This law represents a new nadir in the disenfranchisement of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, the latest in a series of measures over the years which constitute a systematic restriction of the rule of law and basic freedoms in Hungary.”

Germany’s captain, Manuel Neuer, was facing disciplinary action by UEFA after he wore a rainbow armband during the team’s Euro 2020 matches, but the administrative body has now backed down.

While it was initially investigating whether Neuer’s LGBT+ Pride armband should be considered “political”, it eventually ruled that it “was promoting a good cause, ie diversity, [and] the team will not face disciplinary proceedings”.


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