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Hungary stadia to light in national colours after rainbow row

Several Hungarian football clubs will illuminate stadia in national colours during Germany’s Euro 2020 match with Hungary on Wednesday as a row over rainbow lights sparked by a UEFA decision smouldered in both countries.

UEFA refused Tuesday a request by Munich’s mayor to allow the Allianz Arena, where the match will be played, to be lit in the colours of the rainbow as a protest against a recently-passed Hungarian law seen as hostile to the LGBTQ community.

Other landmarks in Munich and some German stadia will be illuminated in rainbow colours during the match in protest at the UEFA decision, which has been condemned by Germany’s foreign minister and LGBTQ groups in Germany. 

Gabor Kubatov, president of Hungary’s biggest club Ferencvaros, called Tuesday on Hungarian clubs to illuminate their stadia in national colours.

According to Kubatov, who is also a vice-president of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party, the initiative followed a request by a Ferencvaros ultras group that complained about the “provocative news” regarding the rainbow colours in Munich.

“Let’s colour all the stadia in red-white-green! Homeland above all!” Kubatov said in a Facebook message.

Other clubs joining the plan so far include MTK in Budapest and DVSC in the eastern city of Debrecen, both of whose management are linked to Fidesz politicians.

The director of the Hungarian State Opera Szilveszter Okovacs also said that one of the Opera’s ancillary music centres in Budapest will also be lit up in red-white-green.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Tuesday that UEFA made “the right decision” to refuse to facilitate a “political provocation” against Hungary.

The nationalist Orban, 58, a football fanatic and fervent supporter of the national team, has been mounting a fierce legal onslaught against the LGBTQ community in recent months.

Hours before Hungary’s Euro 2020 opener against Portugal kicked off last week, parliament approved a ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality and gender change to minors, legislation that critics say is even harsher than Russia’s law on “gay propaganda”.

Last year homosexual couples were also effectively banned from adopting children, a measure that led to rare criticism of government policy by a Hungarian sports personality.

In a Facebook post that divided fans’ opinions, Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who plays for German side RB Leipzig, expressed solidarity with “rainbow families” and said “everyone has the right to equality”.

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