Uefa on Tuesday rejected plans by the city of Munich to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 match in support of the LGBT community and to protest at a law passed by the Hungarian government.

“Uefa is a politically and religiously neutral organisation,” said European football’s governing body in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s match.

“Given the political context of this request – a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – Uefa must refuse.”

Uefa’s stance quickly drew criticism from Germany’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“We find it very disconcerting how Uefa deals with values that should generally be accepted in society,” Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD), told AFP subsidiary SID.

“Uefa has not recognised the signs of the times – and it is clear to see which side it is taking with its decision.”

The mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, had wanted the stadium in rainbow colours for the crucial Group F match to “send a visible sign of solidarity” with Hungary’s LGBT community.

Hungary’s right-wing government last week passed a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, outlawing any educational programmes or material in which homosexuality is mentioned.

On Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed that plans to light the Munich stadium in rainbow colours were “harmful and dangerous”.

While Uefa have rejected the request for the day of the match, it has suggested alternative dates for June 28, which is Christopher Street Liberation Day, an annual celebration and demonstration held in various cities across Europe, or from July 3-9, the week of gay pride in Munich.

The last European Championship match in Munich takes place on July 2.

Uefa had previously opted not to take disciplinary action against Germany skipper Manuel Neuer for wearing a rainbow-coloured captain’s armband.

Tensions are running high on and off the pitch.

Hungary need a win to have a chance of reaching the last 16, while hosts Germany know just a draw would secure a spot in the knockout phase.

An investigation into an allegedly homophobic banner and monkey noises at Hungary’s first two Euro matches in Budapest was opened by Uefa on Sunday.

A Uefa source had previously told AFP that it would consider moving the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final to Budapest from London if the British government refuses to grant VIPs exemption from Covid-19 quarantine measures.

Mixed reactions

France’s openly gay minister for European affairs said on Tuesday he regretted UEFA’s rejection of a request by Munich to light its stadium in rainbow colours for the Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 match.

“I find it a shame,” Clement Beaune told AFP as he arrived for a meeting with EU counterparts in Luxembourg.

“It would have been a very strong symbol” in support of the LGBT community, he said, arguing it would have “gone beyond a political message – it’s a message of deep-rooted values, not a partisan option”.

However, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto hailed the decision by Europe’s governing body for football.

“The leadership of UEFA made the right decision by not assisting in a political provocation against Hungary,” Szijjarto said in a statement sent to AFP.

“Thank God common sense remains among the leaders of European football,” he said.

“It is extremely harmful and dangerous to mix sports and politics,” Szijjarto said previously about the plan.

Munich’s mayor though hit back at Uefa’s refusal to allow the Allianz Arena to be lit in rainbow colours for Wednesday’s Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 match, saying they will decorate other key landmarks instead.

“I find it shameful that Uefa forbids us to send a sign for cosmopolitanism, tolerance, respect and solidarity with the people of the LGBTIQ community,” said Munich mayor Dieter Reiter on Tuesday.

He said he planned to put up rainbow-coloured flags at the Munich town hall and illuminate a huge wind turbine located close to the stadium and other locations to protest at a controversial law passed by the Hungarian government last week.