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UEFA approves pitch-side rainbow ads for Euro 2020 game in Hungary, despite banning rainbow lights in Munich

Lily Wakefield June 27, 2021
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Denmark players form a circle in front of a rainbow advert during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between Wales and Denmark

Denmark players form a circle in front of a rainbow advert during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between Wales and Denmark at Johan Cruijff Arena on 26 June, 2021. (DeFodi Images via Getty/ Alex Gottschalk)

UEFA has approved pitch-side rainbow Pride advertising for all Euro 2020 round of 16 games, including in Hungary, despite banning rainbow lights at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

Earlier this month, UEFA blocked Munich’s Allianz Arena from lighting up in rainbow colours for the Germany v Hungary Euro 2020 game.

UEFA said the lights, which would have been a statement against Hungary’s law banning the “promotion” of LGBT+ issues, were too “political”.

But now, according to The Athletic, the football administrative body has approved pitch-side rainbow advertising for all eight of the round of 16 matches in the Euro 2020 tournament, including the Netherlands v Czech Republic game which will be played in Budapest, Hungary.

Many of the sponsors advertising at the games, including Booking.com, Volkswagen, Heineken and JustEat, have created adverts in rainbow colours for Pride month.

UEFA said in a statement: “Every partner can decide on their respective messages, artwork and activation activities and their decisions to transmit a message of tolerance and inclusion is fully supported by UEFA.

“We firmly believe in equal rights for all, and this includes supporting the LGBT+ community within the framework of our Equal Game campaign.”

Football fans were thoroughly confused about decision, and accused UEFA of only supporting the symbol of LGBT+ rights for profit.

One Twitter user wrote: “UEFA: ‘No you can’t light up the Allianz Arena with the LGBT+ rainbow, it contravenes our rules about political and religious neutrality.’

“Also UEFA: ‘Yes Booking.com you can advertise with the LGBT+ rainbows on the pitch-side advertising, we’ll send you a quote.'”

After UEFA blocked Munich’s Allianz Area from lighting up in Pride colours, it issued a statement claiming to “respect the rainbow” and gave its own logo a colourful makeover.

The mediocre statement, which didn’t even mention LGBT+ people, was slammed by activists football fans online, with Matthew Hodson, director of Aidsmap, tweeting: “A commitment to a more diverse and inclusive society is political.

“Rainbow-washing your logo is not enough.”

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