German clubs will display rainbow colours during their Euro 2020 match against Hungary. Berlin, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Frankfurt and Cologne will all light up venues during Wednesday’s final group game in Munich in response to UEFA’s decision to deny the city council’s application to have its stadium illuminated in rainbow colors.
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter’s application on behalf of the council was to protest a law passed by Hungary last week that prohibits sharing with minors any content portraying homosexuality or sex reassignment. The law was denounced as anti-LGBT discrimination by human rights groups.
Reiter described UEFA’s decision as “shameful” and said it was “very disappointing” that the German soccer federation failed to give the city’s proposal more support.
Reiter said he expects to raise rainbow flags over city hall and have a wind turbine near the stadium and the city’s Olympic Tower illuminated in rainbow colors, too.
“We in Munich certainly won’t let ourselves be discouraged from sending a clear signal to Hungary and the world,” Reiter said.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó criticized the German position on Monday.
“In Hungary we have passed a law to protect Hungarian children, and now in Western Europe they are griping about it”
Szijjártó said in Luxembourg. “They want to express this by including politics in a sporting event, which has nothing to do with the passing of national laws.”
Hungary’s National Assembly approved the bill against sharing LGBT content with minors in a 157-1 vote last week, when one independent lawmaker voted against it and all other opposition parties boycotted the voting session in protest.
“This legislation represents a new mark in the invisibility and disenfranchisement of lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and adds to the systematic restriction of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms that have been practiced for years in Hungary,” the Munich council said in its application, which had cross-party support.
Plans for other stadiums, where the tournament is not being played, to be illuminated with rainbow colors quickly gathered support on Tuesday.
“If Munich is not allowed on Wednesday, then the other stadiums in the country will have to show their colors. Come now, league colleagues!” Eintracht Frankfurt board spokesman Axel Hellmann said on Twitter.
The Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported that the capital city’s senate was also considering illuminating the Brandenburg Gate with the rainbow colors.
On Sunday, UEFA gave the go-ahead for Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to continue wearing a captain’s armband with the rainbow colors at the tournament.
“What does the rainbow stand for?” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert asked on Monday. “It stands for how we want to live: With respect for each other, without the discrimination that has long excluded minorities. And surely the vast majority of people can relate to that.”