Just before the game started between Germany and Hungary, a lone protestor appeared with a rainbow flag in defiance of Hungary and the UEFA.

The unknown man was protesting against Hungary’s new legislation that bans any school materials that seem to promote homosexuality and/or gender change while also restricting the media from showing any content that might also promote or contain homosexuality in programs accessible to minors.

The man was quickly tackled and pinned to the ground by stewards. While he was led away, cheers erupted from the German fans.

This protest came in light of recent events involving the Munich city council and the UEFA. Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter wanted to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours in support of the LGBTQ+ community and in protest of Hungary’s new anti-LGBT law.

The UEFA denied that request on the grounds that it was a political protest. UEFA stated,

“UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organisation. Given the political context of this specific request, a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament, UEFA must decline this request.”

The UEFA proposed alternative dates around Christopher Street Day events that are held to commemorate an uprising of homosexuals in New York City in 1969. The Germans were not happy with this compromise.

Mayor Reiter said, “I think it is shameful that UEFA denies us making a mark for diversity, tolerance, and solidarity.”

The UEFA stumbled again earlier in the Euros when they investigated German keeper, Manuel Neuer, for wearing a rainbow-coloured captain’s armband during his team’s opening group games against France and Portugal. The German soccer federation (DFB) could have faced a fine as political symbols are not allowed but the UEFA dropped the investigation. As the DFB stated, “In a letter, the armband has been assessed as a team symbol for diversity and thus for a ‘good cause.’”

During the game against Hungary, German fans were carrying rainbow flags that were handed out by activists before the match. Some even had rainbow facemasks.

The UEFA seems to have taken a solid blow at this year’s Euros but hopefully they can use their own reasoning for dropping the investigation against Neuer for future protests of this kind. Maybe the UEFA will consider other forms of solidarity a “good cause” as well.

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