Football community to display rainbow colours in support of LGBTQ+ community after UEFA's controversial decision

25 June 2021

At Wednesday’s game between Germany and Hungary, the Allianz Arena where the game will be played should be lit in rainbow colours to make a clear statement against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed this month by the Hungarian parliament. This is what the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, has proposed with the strong endorsement of the city council and for which he will ask Uefa for permission.

The new Hungarian law will  ban the sharing of information that is considered to promote homosexuality, trans people, or non-binary and other gender identities among under-18s. The law has the full support of prime minister, Viktor Orban, and his right-wing Fidesz party.

The motion passed by the Bavarian city council stresses that “The Bavarian state supports diversity, tolerance and genuine equality in sport and in society,” It continues by noting:. “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”. The Orban government has implemented several measures in the last few years, restricting  the rule of law and basic freedoms in Hungary.

Hungary are also under disciplinary investigation by  Uefa into “potential discriminatory incidents” that occurred in both of their Euro 2020 matches at the Puskas Arena against Portugal and France as homophobic banners were spotted in the crowd.

The facade of the Allianz Arena – known plainly as Football Arena Munich for the tournament’s duration – has displayed rainbow colours before as part of a campaign to promote tolerance and diversity when Bayern Munich hosted Hoffenheim in January.

Yesterday European football’s main governing body has declined the request due to it’s “political context”. Despite the local support in Germany for showing solidarity the LGBTQ+ community, there will be no rainbow lighting during the Group F fixture in order to maintain a neutral stance with regards to political matters. The city of Munich will therefore lit up other buildings around the city as a statement towards UEFA.

Other clubs in Berlin, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Frankfurt and Cologne said they would light up their stadiums during the final group game as a protest against the decision of the UEFA and as a sign of solidarity.  

In a related gesture, Manuel Neuer, Germany’s captain and Bayern Munich goalkeeper, will again wear his rainbow armband against Hungary, as he did in previous Euro 2020 games. UEFA confirmed it sees no problem as it does not consider wearing such armband a political statement. For their next upcoming game, the Netherlands will also play with a special captain’s armband, as well as possibly other nations.

For their decision, UEFA has been criticized by many. They state that even though they recognize the fact that lighting up the Allianz Arena as a reaction to Hungary’s new homophobic laws is a political statement, however, not lighting up the arena is also a political statement. Football does not exist in a vacuum, politics are deeply intertwined. Showing solidarity and standing against LGBTQ+phobia should not be political. The reason standing for equal rights, humanity and creating an inclusive environment for everyone is regarded as political, is that it is made political by repressive authoritarian regimes and conservative movements

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