UEFA has denied banning fans from bringing in Pride flags for the Euro 2020 match between Netherlands and Czech Republic in Budapest.
According to reports from Dutch media, security prevented fans on Sunday (27 June) from bringing in rainbow-coloured symbols into the grounds of the fan zone in the Hungarian capital.
On social media, however, UEFA said there was no such ban. In a tweet, the Union of European Football Associations said: “Contrary to some reports in Dutch media, UEFA would like to clarify that it has not banned any rainbow-colored symbols from the fan zone in Budapest, which is under the responsibility of the local authorities.
“UEFA would very much welcome any such symbol into the fan zone. UEFA today informed the Hungarian Football Federation that rainbow-colored symbols are not political and in line with UEFA’s #EqualGame campaign, which fights against all discrimination, including against the LGBTQI+ community, such flags will be allowed into the stadium.”
UEFA reiterated this in a statement to the BBC, saying “the fan zone is under the responsibility of the local authorities”.
Last week, Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter sought permission from the UEFA to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the Germany v Hungary match, following the latter’s recent legislation banning “content promoting gender change or homosexuality” within the school curriculum.
The archaic bill aims to tackle paedophilia within the country and includes amendments banning representation of any sexual orientation, besides heterosexuality, and sex reassignment information in schools. It also applies to films and advertisements aimed at anyone under the age of 18.
Condemned by LGBTQ+ activists, the new bill arrived as Viktor Orbán’s ruling party continues to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens. In response, Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony called it a “shameful day” and said “the opposition’s place is not in the parliament but on the streets.”
UEFA denied the request, which was met with widespread backlash. In response, fans launched a campaign outside the stadium to get throngs of supporters to wear Pride stickers or carry flags. The effort was led by Christopher Street Day, which is an annual European LGBTQ+ celebration and demonstration held in various cities across Europe.
During the Hungarian anthem, one spectator – sporting a German shirt – ran onto the pitch while holding the rainbow flag.
UEFA today informed the Hungarian Football Federation that rainbow-coloured symbols are not political and in line with UEFA’s #EqualGame campaign, which fights against all discrimination, including against the LGBTQI+ community, such flags will be allowed into the stadium.
— UEFA (@UEFA) June 27, 2021