Football: Soccer-Hungary’s foreign minister hits out at Munich ‘rainbow stadium’ plan


(Reuters) – Hungary’s foreign minister has hit out at calls for the stadium in Munich to be lit up in rainbow colours for the Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary on Wednesday, saying politics should be kept out of sport.

The mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, said on Sunday that he would ask European soccer’s governing body UEFA for permission to light up the stadium in rainbow colours in protest at a new law in Hungary that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change.

The law, passed last week, has been criticised by human rights groups and some Hungarian opposition parties.

The stadium, known as the Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, is configured to allow the entire external area and roofing to be lit up in various colours.

UEFA told Reuters on Monday that they had not received any request relating to the matter.

“I consider it very harmful and dangerous when anyone tries to mix politics and sports. There have been some attempts to do this in world history and those ended very badly,” Peter Szijjarto told reporters in Luxembourg on the margins of the European Union’s Foreign Ministers meeting.

“Everyone knows what this is about, we in Hungary passed a law in order to protect Hungarian children and there is protest against this in Western Europe and they also try to express it by trying to bring politics into a sport event when that sport event has nothing to do with the national legislature.

“I think this does a lot of harm, experience from history shows that this is wrong, and I think the Germans know this, if anyone, they certainly know this very well. So, mixing sports and politics is wrong,” he added.

Jens Grittner, spokesman for the German Football Federation, said they would prefer any such gesture to take place on another date than Wednesday’s match and suggested the annual Christopher Street Day demonstration in July.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has worn a rainbow armband, in solidarity with the LGBTQ community, in both Germany’s games at the Euros.

UEFA is investigating “potential discriminatory incidents” during Hungary’s European Championship matches against Portugal and France at the Puskas Arena, European soccer’s governing body said on Sunday.

During Hungary’s opening game against Portugal in Budapest on Tuesday, images on social media showed a banner declaring “Anti-LMBTQ” – the Hungarian abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer.

(Reporting by Simon Evans, additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann in Berlin and Anita Komuves in Budapest.; Editing by Toby Davis)

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