UEFA denies report that federation banned supporters from taking rainbow flags into Budapest fan zone
European football’s governing body has moved quickly to clarify it has no responsibility for the fan zone in the Hungarian capital
Uefa has denied reports in the Dutch media that claimed it has banned Netherlands supporters from taking rainbow-coloured flags and symbols into the Euro 2020 fan zone in Budapest.
Dutch website Nu.nl reported that Netherlands fans had their rainbow symbols confiscated by security as they entered the fan zone ahead of Sunday’s last-16 clash against the Czech Republic.
However, European football’s governing body has released statement clarifying that it is the local authorities who have responsibility for fan zones, while reminding the Hungarian Football Federation that rainbow flags – a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community – are not considered political and should be allowed into the Puskas Arena for the game.
What did UEFA say?
In a statement, UEFA said: “Contrary to some reports in Dutch media, UEFA would like to clarify that it has not banned any rainbow-coloured 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-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.”
The bigger picture
UEFA were criticised earlier in the tournament for refusing the authorities in Munich permission to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours, so have moved quickly to clarify it is not responsible for this latest controversy.
The Munich authorities wanted to light up the stadium ahead of Germany’s game against Hungary as a show of support for the LGBTQ+ community and in protest against anti-LGBT legislation that has recently been passed in Hungary.
There have also been allegations of anti-LGBT+ chants and banners being displayed in Budapest earlier in the tournament.
However, UEFA blocked the request because it believed it was designed to be a political message towards the Hungarians, which controvenes UEFA regulations, despite stressing that the rainbow flag is not a political symbol.
The decision sparked anger across Germany, with several other football clubs lighting up their stadiums in rainbow colours in protest. Germany captain Manuel Neuer has worn a rainbow-coloured captain’s armband throughout the tournament, while several supporters wore rainbow colours for the Hungary game, including a fan who invaded the pitch during the Hungarian national anthem.
Having made its stance clear to the Hungarian Football Federation regarding rainbow flags inside the stadium, it is hoped the scenes allegedly witnessed in the fan zone will not be repeated when supporters enter the Puskas Arena on Sunday evening.