Germany put on a show of colour on Wednesday in defiance of UEFA’s refusal to light Munich’s Euro 2020 stadium in rainbow hues, as a political row over Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ law escalated.
As tensions soared on and off the pitch, EU leaders and Hungary traded barbs over the new law banning LGBTQ educational content for children, with EU chief slamming it as a disgrace.
Munich city authorities had planned to light the Allianz stadium up in rainbow colours during Germany’s match against Hungary to “send a visible sign of solidarity” with Hungary’s LGBTQ community.
But UEFA refused the request and on Wednesday again doubled down on its stance.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said his organisation could not give in to “populist” demands from politicians but Germany said the football body sent the “wrong message”.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen slammed as a disgrace the law passed by Viktor Orban’s government banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, prompting an immediate slap down from Budapest against her comments as “a shame”.
Just minutes before kick-off at Munich’s Allianz Arena, a fan wearing a Germany shirt and waving a large rainbow flag evaded security to invade the pitch, running in front of the lined-up teams before being tackled by stewards and led away.
When the doors opened earlier to the stadium, German activists wearing vests emblazoned with the logo “rainbow to go” were handing out rainbow flags to fans.
German fan Michael, 51, told AFP he would have liked to see the stadium lit up. “I don’t see it as political and I think that would have been a great signal,” he said.
But Hungary fan Csongor, 39, said the rainbow had “nothing to do with football… We feel that this is a campaign against Hungary, against the Hungarian national team, against the Hungarian government.”