UEFA slammed over ‘meaningless’ pledge to ‘respect the rainbow’ that didn’t mention LGBT+ people once
UEFA has been slammed for pledging to “respect the rainbow” without even mentioning LGBT+ people as an international row over its stance on homophobia rumbles on.
This week, UEFA blocked Munich’s Allianz Arena from lighting up in rainbow colours for the Germany v Hungary Euro 2020 game as a statement against a new anti-LGBT+ law in Hungary, which Munich mayor Dieter Reiter supported as “an important sign of tolerance and equality”.
Despite calls for the rainbow lights from Reiter, Munich city council and LGBT+ rights groups in both Hungary and Germany, UEFA said the statement against Hungary’s law banning the “promotion” of LGBT+ issues was too “political”.
The decision was met with backlash, with Munich planning to light up a wind turbine in rainbow lights instead. Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has since cancelled plans to travel to the city for the match.
In a moment of horrible irony, on Wednesday (23 June), UEFA gave its own logo a rainbow makeover and said in a statement: “Today, UEFA is proud to wear the colours of the rainbow.”
The statement, titled “UEFA respects the rainbow”, continued: “It is a symbol that embodies our core values, promoting everything that we believe in – a more just and egalitarian society, tolerant of everyone, regardless of their background, belief or gender.”
— UEFA (@UEFA) June 23, 2021
It said the decision to block Munich’s request for a rainbow stadium had been “misinterpreted”, insisting that “the request itself was political”.
“For UEFA, the rainbow is not a political symbol, but a sign of our firm commitment to a more diverse and equal game,” it added.
The football administrative body was slammed on social media for its mediocre statement which failed to even mention the LGBT+ community.
"UEFA is proud to wear the colours of the rainbow."
Matthew Hodson, director of Aidsmap, tweeted: “A commitment to a more diverse and inclusive society is political.
“Rainbow-washing your logo is not enough.”
Charlotte Nichols, the UK’s shadow minister for women and equalities wrote described the statement as “embarrassing nonsense”, and wrote: “There is not even a mention of sexuality/ LGBT+/ homophobia in the statement!
“What do they think the Pride rainbow is for? It’s not some meaningless fashion statement for their Twitter avatar.”
There is not even a mention of sexuality/LGBT/homophobia in the statement! What do they think the Pride rainbow is for? It's not some meaningless fashion statement for their Twitter avatar.— Charlotte Nichols (@charlotte2153) June 23, 2021
The organisation Football v Homophobia simply responded with a Desmond Tutu quote: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
“If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
How dare they. What an absolute joke of a response from @UEFA. ''We support LGTBQ+ but only if it's convenient'' is the MO of too many organizations and companies cladding themselves in rainbow colours. https://t.co/JTiDfhqWya
— Dario TLO Wünsch (@TLOgg) June 23, 2021
This is corporate pride. The complete depoliticization of the symbols of a marginalized groups struggles, even in a moment when they're under political attack.
So, if I've got this right?
UEFA is proud of the rainbow, because it embodies what UEFA says are its values of tolerance and equality.
But UEFA won't allow a stadium to be lit in rainbow colours to support people who are being denied the very values that UEFA says it supports. https://t.co/0bDZpXCSlk— Jack Murley (@jack_murley) June 23, 2021
On the same day that UEFA released its statement, a top EU official said that there was “no excuse” for blocking the rainbow lights at Allianz Arena.
According to ABC News, European Commission vice president Margaritis Schinas said at a news conference: “I find it very difficult to understand what UEFA is trying to do by going against this initiative of the Munich city council.
“Frankly, I do not find any reasonable excuse for that.”
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