The body which governs European football has smacked down Munich’s plan for the city’s stadium to be lit up in ‘pride’ colours during Germany’s Euro 2020 match with Hungary on Wednesday to protest a new law banning the promotion of alternative sexual orientations to children.
Social Democrat Party (centre-left) Mayor Dieter Reiter stated on Sunday that he was writing to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to ask for permission to display the colour of the LGBT pride flag on the Allianz Arena to protest the new Hungarian law, but the body turned down his request.
The Munich city council said of the Hungarian law: “On the occasion of the European Championship match between Germany and Hungary, it is important for the state capital of Munich to send a visible signal of solidarity with the LGBTI community in Hungary, which is suffering from the currently tightened homophobic and transphobic legislation of the Hungarian government.”
According to the city council, the Euro 202o match is a way to “send the message that Munich stands for a colourful, diverse and tolerant society”, Die Welt reports.
But UEFA rejected the proposal, as it goes against their generally strict rules against political statements taking place during football matches. While the rules have historically been applied quite evenly, even banning relatively anodyne symbols like the wearing of a red poppy by British players in memory of fallen soldiers, it has allowed BLM statements at matches recently.
UEFA said Tuesday: “UEFA… 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”, reports Deutsche Welle.
Mayor Reiter said he found the decision “shameful”.
Hungary to Vote on Legislation Banning Promotion of Transgenderism to Children https://t.co/koFt5vrVoy
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Munich’s government is not the only one to criticise the new Hungarian law. David Vig, the director of Amnesty International in Hungary, claimed that the proposals resembled similar Russian legislation and argued it would stigmatise the LGBTI community. Several critics have attacked the Hungarians for bundling together new laws toughening the criminalisation of pedophiles and cracking down on LGBTI matters in schools in one bill, claiming this conflates the two.
Hungary have defended their laws and accused foreign reportage and criticism of mischaracterising what the law was actually for, and trying to achieve. Prime Minister Orban claimed that while his government sought to protect children from “pornography, sexuality for its own sake”, it did not interfere in “how adults live their lives”.
Zoltan Kovacs, Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations in Hungary, defended the new law last week, arguing that it was the role of parents to educate their children on matters of sexuality.
“The law also prohibits homosexuality and gender reassignment to be displayed or promoted to minors and allows only registered NGOs to provide information on these subjects. Yes, we think this is necessary to protect children in their sexual development,” Kovacs said.
“We also believe that certain content should only be introduced at a suitable age in the interest of children’s healthy psychological and mental development,” he added.