Bayern Munich have responded after UEFA rejected a request for Germany to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for Wednesday's Euro 2020 clash with Hungary due to political reasons.
Club president Herbert Hainer expressed regret at the decision from the European governing body, while stressing his club's continued commitment to supporting diversity. UEFA expressed its own support and understood the gesture but proposed alternative dates for the stadium to be lit up, rather than on the day of the Hungary game.
Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter asked UEFA for permission to illuminate the stadium in support of the LGBTQ+ community. He made the request to European football's governing body after Hungary passed a law that prohibits the sharing of content in schools that could be deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change.
"We would have liked it if the Allianz Arena could have been lit up in rainbow colours on Wednesday," Hainer said on Tuesday in response to the UEFA decision. "Open-mindedness and tolerance are fundamental values that our society and FC Bayern stand for. That is why FC Bayern has lit up its stadium in the colours of diversity, for example on Christopher Street Day, for several years."
In announcing the decision, UEFA stressed its own commitment to fighting against any form of discrimination. "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," read the release from UEFA. "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 has nevertheless proposed to the city of Munich to illuminate the stadium with the rainbow colours on either June 28 – the Christopher Street Liberation Day – or between July 3 and 9, which is the Christopher Street Day week in Munich."
Christopher Street Day is an annual European LGBTQ+ celebration and demonstration held in various cities across Europe, supporting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
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