German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday criticized UEFA’s decision to block plans to light Munich’s Allianz Arena stadium in rainbow colors for Germany’s Euro 2020 match against Hungary.
“It’s true, the football pitch is not about politics,” Maas wrote on Twitter after the European football body blamed the “political context” for its decision.
“It’s about people, about fairness, about tolerance. That’s why @UEFA is sending the wrong signal,” he said.
City authorities had wanted the Allianz Arena — owned by Bayern Munich, but rented to UEFA for Euro 2020 — in rainbow colors for the crucial Group F match to “send a visible sign of solidarity” with Hungary’s LGBT community.
But UEFA refused the request, insisting it must remain a “politically and religiously neutral organization”.
Hungary’s right-wing government last week passed a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, outlawing any educational programs or material in which homosexuality is mentioned.
UEFA’s move drew condemnation from football personalities across Europe, as well as from Germany’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.
After UEFA’s refusal, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter announced plans to decorate other city landmarks in rainbow colors.
Munich will put up rainbow-colored flags at its town hall and illuminate a huge wind turbine close to the stadium, as well as the city’s 291-metre (955-foot) Olympic Tower.
Other stadiums across Germany are also planning rainbow light displays, including Berlin’s iconic Olympic Stadium, as well as Bundesliga stadiums in Cologne, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg.