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UEFA refuses to light Munich stadium in rainbow colours for Germany-Hungary match

“UEFA is a politically and religiously neutral organisation,” said European football’s governing body in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s match.

“Given the political context of this request — a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament — UEFA must refuse.”

UEFA’S stance quickly drew criticism from Germany’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“We find it very disconcerting how UEFA deals with values that should generally be accepted in society,”  Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD), told AFP subsidiary SID.

“UEFA has not recognised the signs of the times — and it is clear to see which side it is taking with its decision.”

The mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, had wanted the stadium in rainbow colours for the crucial Group F match to “send a visible sign of solidarity” with Hungary’s LGBT community.

Hungary’s right-wing government last week passed a law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, outlawing any educational programmes or material in which homosexuality is mentioned.

On Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed that plans to light the Munich stadium in rainbow colours were “harmful and dangerous”.

While UEFA have rejected the request for the day of the match, it has suggested alternative dates for June 28, which is Christopher Street Liberation Day, or from July 3-9, the week of gay pride in Munich.

The last European Championship match in Munich takes place on July 2.

Tensions are running high on and off the pitch.

Hungary need a win to have a chance of reaching the last 16, while hosts Germany know just a draw would secure a spot in the knockout phase.

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