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Euro 2020: Proposal to light up Munich arena in LGBTQ colors

June 19, 2021

After the Hungarian parliament passed new anti-LGBTQ legislation this week, Munich councilors have put forward a motion to light up the city's football arena in rainbow colors for Germany's match against Hungary.

Deutschland München | Allianz Arena in Regenbogenfarben
Image: Frank Hoermann/augenglick/Martin Hangen/picture alliance

Ahead of Germany's third Euro 2020 group game against Hungary in Munich on Wednesday, city councilors in the Bavarian capital have put forward a motion to have the arena illuminated in rainbow colors.

"[Munich] supports diversity, tolerance and genuine equality in sport and in society," reads the joint motion from all six factions on Munich's city council, addressed to Munich mayor Dieter Reiter.

"On the occasion of the match between Germany and Hungary, the council wishes to send a visible message of solidarity to the LGBT community in Hungary which is suffering under recent legislation passed by the Hungarian government."

On June 15, the Hungarian parliament voted 157-1 in favor of new legislation which outlaws the sharing of information that is considered to promote homosexuality or non-binary gender identities among under-18s.

"This law represents a new nadir in the disenfranchisement of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, the latest in a series of measures over the years which constitute a systematic restriction of the rule of law and basic freedoms in Hungary," read the motion from the Munich councilors.

It also said the new Hungarian law contravened the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights and the aims of the EU Commission's strategy on LGBTIQ equality.

"In this situation, so soon after the passing of this legislation, the German national team's fixture against Hungary offers a public platform on which to send the message that Munich stands for a diverse and tolerant society," concluded the motion. "Sport, and football in particular, also stands for these values."

Ungarn Budapest | UEFA EURO 2020 | Ungarn vs Frankreich | Jubel 1:0
Far-right fans from the "Carpathian Brigade" conduct the atmosphere at Hungary's home games.Image: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Pro and anti-LGBTQ messages in football

Campaigns and messages in support of LGBTQ rights are commonplace in German football, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer wearing a rainbow-colored captain's armband during Tuesday's defeat to France, for example. During the regular season, Bundesliga clubs and their supporters regularly take part in similar initiatives, while Hungary and RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi also recently spoke out publicly in support of same-sex marriage.

Generally, however, the fan culture at domestic games and also surrounding the national team in Hungary is dominated by right-wing ultra and hooligan groups, who have traditionally made no secret of their anti-Semitic and anti-gypsy views.

At each of Hungary's two group games in Budapest, the fan blocks behind the goal were occupied by the black-shirted "Carpathian Brigade" – an ultra group made up of members of extreme-right groups from across Hungarian football, united behind the national team.

During the 0-3 defeat to Portugal on June 15, the same day the anti-LGBT legislation was passed, the Carpathian Brigade displayed anti-LGBTQ banners and sang anti-LGBTQ chants inside the stadium, which UEFA are investigating.

Ahead of Saturday's 1-1 draw with France, members of the group marched to the Puskas Arena behind an anti-kneeling banner, a reference to some national teams, including England, "taking the knee" against racism and discrimination.


Correction: The initial version of this article referred to the "Carpathian Brigade" as a neo-Nazi ultra group. This has been amended, removing the neo-Nazi reference and acknowledging that not all members of the grouping are neo-Nazis, even if the majority of this grouping shares neo-Nazi ideas.

DW Matthew Ford Sports
Matt Ford Reporter and editor for DW Sports specializing in European football, fan culture & sports politics.@matt_4d