LGBT+ groups – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community, have written to the European football governing body, UEFA over their refusal to allow Germany to light up Allianz Arena in rainbow colors for the Euro 2020 Group F match between Germany and Hungary tonight, Wednesday, June 23, 20221.
Recall that the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter wrote to UEFA to permit the city to light up the stadium in rainbow colors in solidarity with the LGBT+ groups and their fight for inclusion and equality.
The city’s mayor also wanted to use the opportunity to pass a message to the Hungarian government that just passed a homophobic law banning any content related to homosexuality from getting exposed to people below the age of eighteen.
But UEFA saw it as being too political and decided to decline the request. The football governing body however gave the city permission to light up the stadium in rainbow colors on different dates.
Still, the LGBT+ groups in their joint letter addressed to the president of UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin, criticized the football body for not doing enough in the fight against homophobia.
The LGBT+ groups wrote: “We welcomed the initiative of the German Football Association (DFB) and the Mayor of Munich to light up the Allianz Arena before and during the Germany v Hungary match. We also noted the UEFA statement as to why the gesture would be seen as political in opposition to the stance of the Hungarian government.
“We are firm of the view that positive gestures of inclusion that are in support of the human rights of a minority group that is widely excluded from football and society should not be seen as a political act.
“It is certainly not an act on equal terms with the prohibitive and exclusionary legislation of the Hungarian government. To make an equivalence between the two positions and to reduce this to a political row is quite simply wrong.”
LGBT+ groups are not happy with how UEFA handled the homophobic chants by Hungarian fans
When Portugal played against Hungary at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 15, 2021, it was reported that the Hungarian supporters in the stadium made some homophobic chants against Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
While reacting to the incident in their letter to UEFA, LGBT+ groups believe that the European football governing body did not do much to address the incident which was seen as an attack on homosexuals.
The group went on to note UEFA’s decision to drop its investigation against Manuel Neuer’s decision to wear a rainbow armband during Euro 2020 games and criticized the football governing body for not being committed to addressing discrimination against LGBT+ groups.
The groups wrote: “We have been alarmed by examples of homophobia during Euro 2020 with banners and chants in evidence in some stadiums. Most notably we have been concerned about how supporters of Hungary have been using their government’s legislative framework to sing songs and raise banners mocking and denying the rights of the LGBTIQ community to exist.
“I am sure you will agree that the human rights of minority groups are to be respected within civil society, and any examples of those rights being challenged within popular public arenas, such as football matches, should be acted upon.
“We have not as yet seen any action from UEFA on the incidents widely reported in Hungary.”
UEFA replies LGBT+
In reaction to the letter from the LGBT group, the European football governing body, UEFA, has changed its logo on its social media platforms to rainbow colors.
In a statement issued today, June 23, UEFA stressed that the football governing body does not see the rainbow colors as a political symbol but a sign of inclusive society.