LGBT + groups have written to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin criticizing inaction over possible discriminatory incidents in Hungary’s first two Euro 2020 matches and the decision to ban at Munich stadium from be illuminated in the colors of the rainbow.
The letter was organized by the Football v Homophobia campaign and includes Pride in Football (the UK umbrella organization of LGBT + supporters groups), the EGLSF (European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation) based in the Netherlands and the Association of public works in Hungary.
UEFA is investigating possible incidents of discrimination in Hungary’s opening two Euro 2020 matches at Puskas Arena in Budapest. Inclusiveness in football group Fare sent a report highlighting a homophobic banner in the stands for their loss to Portugal, while monkey songs were also heard in the draw with France.
On Tuesday, UEFA rejected a request by the German Football Association and Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter for the Allianz Arena to be lit up in rainbow colors for their clash with Hungary in Group F Wednesday due to the political motives behind the proposal.
Reiter had said he wanted to light up the stadium in colors to protest a new law in Hungary that bans the showing of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change. UEFA has proposed new dates for the stadium lighting.
Major LGBT + groups from Germany, Turkey, Poland, Portugal, France, Slovenia, Russia, Finland, Spain and Italy also signed the letter denouncing UEFA for lack of “action” regarding the alleged incidents at the Puskas Arena.
The organizations also claim that it is “simply wrong” of UEFA to view gestures to challenge LGBT + discrimination as political acts.
The letter read: “Dear Mr Ceferin, President of UEFA. We are an independent grouping of LGBTIQ community groups concerned with tackling homophobia in football, using football and other sports as a tool to fight discrimination, and working with LGBTIQ groups to overcome exclusion. of our communities across Europe.
“We are writing to you as the head of UEFA about our general concerns about the rise of homophobia in football in many countries under UEFA’s jurisdiction in recent years and also about the tournament Euro 2020.
“We were alarmed by examples of homophobia during Euro 2020 with banners and chants prominently displayed in some stadiums. We were particularly concerned about how supporters of Hungary have used their government’s legislative framework. to sing songs and wave mocking banners and deny the rights of the LGBTIQ community to exist.
“I am sure you will agree that the human rights of minority groups must be respected within civil society, and any example of these rights contested in popular public arenas, such as football matches, must be put implemented.
“We have yet to see any action from UEFA on the widely reported incidents in Hungary.
“We welcomed the initiative of the German Football Association (DFB) and the mayor of Munich to light up the Allianz Arena before and during the Germany-Hungary game. We also noted the UEFA statement on why the gesture would be considered political in opposition to the position of the Hungarian government.
“We firmly believe that positive gestures of inclusion which support the human rights of a minority group largely excluded from football and society should not be viewed as a political act.
“This is certainly not an act on a par with the prohibitive and exclusionary legislation of the Hungarian government. To equate the two positions and reduce it to a political quarrel is simply wrong.
“We have taken note of UEFA’s commitment to your own Equal Game campaign; this is an opportunity to put this campaign into practice. We urge UEFA to do more and to work with partners, such as the Fare network and those of us among this group with an international mission, to ensure that actions of inclusion and solidarity are not prevented, and that action on homophobia and LGBTIQ exclusion corresponds to the words of campaigns and commitments. “
Sky Sports News contacted UEFA for a response to the letter and offered the opportunity to speak in an on-camera interview.
European football’s governing body has also opened an investigation into Manuel Neuer wearing a rainbow-colored armband for Germany’s first two matches at the tournament. However, it was later dropped on the grounds that the gesture was “valued as a team symbol for diversity and therefore for a ‘good cause'” and therefore did not violate UEFA rules regarding political demonstrations.
The goalkeeper wore the armband in support of the LGBT + community during Pride Month which runs throughout June.
A number of footballers, including Frenchman Antoine Griezmann who tweeted a rainbow-colored image of the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, also showed their solidarity with the campaign.