Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter has criticised the decision of the European football association UEFA to ban stadium lighting in rainbow colours for Germany’s football match against Hungary on Wednesday.
“I find it shameful that UEFA forbids us to give a sign for tolerance, respect and solidarity,” said Reiter.
With the rainbow arena, the mayor and the city council of Munich wanted to respond to restrictions “of the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people” in Hungary, Reiter’s letter to UEFA reads. The rainbow is the symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community.
The football association refused, citing their political neutrality. Reiter disagreed: “This is not politics, this is simply a signal of humanity.”
Munich’s proposal had met with strong support from athletes and politicians.
“Ah, just do it anyway”
“We will find other ways and means to show our solidarity,” Reiter said. He announced to raise rainbow flags over the city hall on Wednesday, and have a wind turbine near the arena as well as the city’s Olympic Tower illuminated in rainbow colours.
Other German stadiums will be lit up in rainbow colours on Wednesday, football clubs in Augsburg, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg announced.
And England’s former top scorer, football commentator Gary Lineker, advised the people of Munich on Twitter: “Ah, just do it anyway.”