Euro 2020

Aleksander Ceferin comments on why Allianz Arena rainbow request was turned down

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Aleksander Ceferin has commented on UEFA's controversial decision
Aleksander Ceferin has commented on UEFA's controversial decision / ANDREAS SOLARO/Getty Images

Aleksander Ceferin has claimed that UEFA controversially turned down a request to light up Munich's Allianz Arena in rainbow colours because "football cannot allow itself to be used for political purposes."

The request came from Munich mayor Dieter Reiter, following public pressure to show support for the LGBTQI+ community before Germany's final Euro 2020 group game against Hungary on Wednesday.

The Hungarian parliament recently received international condemnation for passing legislation banning LGBTQI+ content in schools and on children's television. Hungary's supporters are also being investigated for alleged homophobic chants during their game against Portugal last week.

Because of this the Munich council had hoped to show a defiant message of solidarity, before their plans was quashed.

Commenting directly on the reasons for the ruling, UEFA president Ceferin said (via Gianluca Di Marzio): "It was the request of a politician, it was clearly a signal aimed at a political act of a government of another country. Football cannot allow itself to be used for political purposes."

It is not the first time that Germany have run afoul of UEFA recently. Earlier this week it was reported that the governing body had opened an investigation into Manuel Neuer. Neuer has worn an rainbow armband in each of Die Mannschaft's opening two Euro 2020 games.

That investigation has since been dropped with Ceferin adding: "With all my heart I support and celebrate Neuer wearing the headband. And with all my heart I am in favor of a stadium illuminated with the colors of the rainbow on other occasions, as proposed by UEFA, when it is not for political purposes.

"Uefa is committed to combating all forms of discrimination, including prejudice and homophobia."

On the pitch, Hungary require an unlikely win to have any chance of qualifying. They currently prop up Group F on one point with a minus three goal difference. Meanwhile, Germany are second on three and ahead of third place Portugal - who play leaders France on Wednesday - on head to head record.