23rd June, 2021
By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin has claimed that the football body controversially turned down a request to light up Munich’s Allianz Arena in rainbow colours because “football cannot allow itself to be used for political purposes.”
Munich mayor Dieter Reiter, requested before Germany’s final Euro 2020 group game against Hungary that the Allianz be lit in rainbow colours to show support to the LGBTQI+ community.
The match was seen as a perfect opportunity to make a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ a community following the controversial news that Hungary has banned LGBTQ+ content in schools or on kids’ television.
However, UEFA denied the request. UEFA President Ceferin said “It was the request of a politician, it was a signal aimed at a political act of a government of another country. Football cannot allow itself to be used for political purposes.”
It is not the first time that Germany has run afoul of UEFA recently. Earlier this week it was reported that the governing body had opened an investigation into Manuel Neuer. Neuer has worn a rainbow armband in each of Die Mannschaft’s opening two Euro 2020 games.
That investigation has since been dropped with Ceferin adding: “With all my heart I support and celebrate Neuer wearing the headband. And with all my heart I am in favour of a stadium illuminated with the colours of the rainbow on other occasions, as proposed by UEFA when it is not for political purposes.
“Uefa is committed to combating all forms of discrimination, including prejudice and homophobia, he said.