UEFA turns down request for 'rainbow lights' in Munich

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter had said he wanted to light up the stadium in the colours in protest against a new law in Hungary that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change.

The Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, is configured to allow the entire external area and roofing to be lit up in various colours.   -  Getty Images

UEFA has turned down a request from the mayor of Munich for the city's stadium to be lit up in rainbow colours for Wednesday's EURO 2020 match between Germany and Hungary.

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter had said he wanted to light up the stadium in the colours in protest against a new law in Hungary that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change.

The stadium, known as the Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, is configured to allow the entire external area and roofing to be lit up in various colours.

READ: Hungary's foreign minister hits out at Munich 'rainbow stadium' plan

In a statement, UEFA suggested alternative dates for the gesture during the tournament.

"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," the organisation said in a statement on Tuesday.

"UEFA has nevertheless proposed to the city of Munich to illuminate the stadium with the rainbow colours on either 28 June – the Christopher Street Liberation Day - or between 3 and 9 July which is the Christopher Street Day week in Munich."

Christopher Street Day events are held in memory of an uprising by homosexuals in New York in 1969.

The German Football Association (DFB) had said on Monday that it would also prefer any protest or gesture to be held on another date than Wednesday's game.

ALSO READ: UEFA probes discrimination at EURO 2020 games in Hungary

The Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday that "mixing politics and sport" was "harmful and dangerous".

"Thank God that in the circles of European football leadership common sense still prevails and they did not play along with the political provocation.

"I think, no, I can say that the leadership of UEFA made the right decision when they decided not to play along with the political provocation against Hungary," he said.

UEFA said it was involved in a number of campaigns around diversity and inclusion "to promote the ethos that football should be open to everyone".

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