POST TIME: 23 June, 2021 06:31:00 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 June, 2021 06:33:53 PM
'UEFA respects the rainbow'
The organisation behind Euro 2020 have attempted to clarify their decision to block Germany's planned message of support to the LGBT+ community

'UEFA respects the rainbow'

Photo: Getty Images

UEFA have released a statement insisting they "respect the rainbow" in response to the controversy surrounding a proposal to illuminate Allianz Arena with rainbow lighting.

Germany had originally planned for the display to take place during the national team's final Group F fixture at Euro 2020 against Hungary on Wednesday as a show of unity towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Many of the club level teams in the country were also set to display the rainbow theme at their own stadiums, but UEFA took the decision to block the initiative much to the fury of activist groups protesting Hungary's anti-LGBT legislation.

What was said?

UEFA explained their decision in a statement on Tuesday: "Racism, homophobia, sexism, and all forms of discrimination are a stain on our societies and represent one of the biggest problems faced by the game today.

"Discriminatory behaviour has marred both matches themselves and, outside the stadiums, the online discourse around the sport we love.

"However 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."

UEFA's latest statement 

European football's main governing body have come out to try and justify their stance after a widespread backlash, which included the City of Munich's mayor Dieter Reiter labelling them "shameful".

"Today, UEFA is proud to wear the colours of the rainbow," their latest statement says. "It is a symbol that embodies our core values, promoting everything that we believe in – a more just and egalitarian society, tolerant of everyone, regardless of their background, belief or gender.

"Some people have interpreted UEFA’s decision to turn down the city of Munich’s request to illuminate the Munich stadium in rainbow colours for a EURO 2020 match as ‘political’. On the contrary, the request itself was political, linked to the Hungarian football team’s presence in the stadium for this evening’s match with Germany.

"For UEFA, the rainbow is not a political symbol, but a sign of our firm commitment to a more diverse and inclusive society."

Manuel Neuer's rainbow armband

Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has also been at the centre of the storm at the European Championships for wearing a rainbow-striped captain's armband.

Neuer has been wearing the colours during the group stage to show his support for LGBTQ+ groups during Pride Month, but UEFA launched an investigation after determining that the 35-year-old was willingly displaying a political symbol.

The DFB have since confirmed that the governing body has dropped their review of the armband, and Neuer is free to put it back on when Germany face Hungary and in the latter rounds of the competition should they make it through.