Belgium slams UEFA on rainbow colours and plan own display

The KBVB criticised UEFA’s refusal for the Munich stadium to be lit in rainbow colours for Germany's Euro 2020 match against Hungary on Wednesday in protest of an anti-LGBTQ law in Hungary.

The Allianz Arena is configured to allow the exterior and roofing to be lit up in colours but European football's governing body declined the request, offering instead alternative dates..   -  AP

Belgium’s captain will wear rainbow colours on his armband at the European Championship on Sunday and the country’s football association (KBVB) is considering further ways to show solidarity with the LGBTQ movement.

The KBVB criticised UEFA’s refusal for the Munich stadium to be lit in rainbow colours for Germany's Euro 2020 match against Hungary on Wednesday in protest of an anti-LGBTQ law in Hungary.

"We totally disagree with the UEFA decision and are probably going to play on Sunday with a rainbow band," said spokesman Stefan van Loock on Wednesday.

"UEFA should have allowed the rainbow colours to be displayed at the German stadium," he added.

READ: Euro 2020: Germany hosts Hungary as sports, politics mix

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter wanted to highlight legislation in Hungary banning school materials deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change and restricting the media from showing such content in programmes accessible to minors.

The Allianz Arena is configured to allow the exterior and roofing to be lit up in colours but European football's governing body declined the request, offering instead alternative dates.

"If they say themselves that they are for integration, equality and transparency, then it would have been the appropriate way to display it," added the Belgian media officer.

"We are considering how we can all display the rainbow colours in our match on Sunday, but our captain will have it on his armband."

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A large banner in rainbow colours, together with the Belgian association’s badge, was prominently flown at the entrance to the team’s training camp in Tubize, some 25km south of Brussels, on Wednesday.

"We won’t, unfortunately, get to see any stadium in rainbow colours today so a flag at our training complex was the least we could do to symbolically show that we are not in agreement, at all, with what UEFA have decided," said Van Loock.

UEFA proposed alternative dates to Munich of June 28 or between July 3-9 around Christopher Street Day events held in memory of an uprising by homosexuals in New York in 1969.

"UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organisation. Given the political context of this specific request – a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must decline this request," it said.

READ: Hungary needs perfect defensive strategy to beat Germany, says coach

Belgium plays its last 16 match in Seville, against opponents yet to be established.

A top European Union official said he can’t find “any reasonable excuse” for UEFA to reject host city Munich’s plans to display rainbow colors during a match between Germany and Hungary at the European Championship.

“Yes, I find it very difficult to understand what UEFA is trying to do by going against this initiative of the Munich city council,” European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said during a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s match. “Frankly, I do not find any reasonable excuse for that.”

“They supported all the good causes. And all of a sudden, they make an issue out of this,” he said.

--('With inputs from AP)--

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