UEFA has denied Volkswagen from displaying Pride-themed adverts during the semi-final matches in Russia and Azerbaijan.
According to a report from The Athletic, the company was in talks to display rainbow-themed pitch-side advertisements in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
But concerns about the “legal framework” around LGBTQ+ support in Russia and Azerbaijan prompted the UEFA’s decision to nix the inclusive gesture.
“Volkswagen took a clear stand for diversity with the colouring of the advertising banners in the round of 16 games throughout Europe,” a spokesperson told The Athletic.
“To continue to openly and consistently demonstrate this open-minded outlook when it comes to respect and equal rights, the plan was for our rainbow banners to be displayed again in the upcoming quarter-final games in St Petersburg, Munich, Baku and Rome.
“Due to concerns of UEFA with regard to the legal framework at the venues in Russia and Azerbaijan, the association informed us that it was not possible to use rainbow-coloured banners on the advertising boards in St. Petersburg and Baku.”
The spokesperson then ended their statement saying that the LGBTQ+ friendly LED advertisement will still be used in the semi-finals in Munich and Rome.
UEFA also released a statement in support of the LGBTQ+ community but stated that sponsors are required to be “compliant with local legislation.
“UEFA fully supports the display of such messages of tolerance and respect for diversity,” the statement said.
“UEFA requires its sponsors to ensure that their artwork is compliant with local legislation and we understand that this not the case in Baku and Saint Petersburg.
“UEFA will however continue to highlight its fight against all types of discrimination through its Equal Game campaign across all stadiums in all remaining matches.”
The organization ended their statement stating that “other sponsors” have chosen to not use rainbow-themed advertisements due to Pride Month being over.
This isn’t the first time that the UEFA has rejected the display of Pride colours.
At the end of June, Munich was denied the opportunity to light up its stadium in rainbow colours during Germany’s match with Hungary.
Dieter Reiter, Munich’s mayor, wanted to light up the stadium in protest of the current anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that the Hungary government is imposing.
But even though they were banned from lighting up the stadium many fans wore rainbow colours and flags in support of the LGBTQ+ community.