image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe Munich stadium has lit up before in rainbow colours but Uefa said as an organisation it was politically and religiously neutral

Hours before Hungary’s footballers face Germany in Munich in their final Euro 2020 group stage match, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has cancelled a visit to the game, German reports say.

Earlier Germany and 13 other EU states condemned a Hungarian law that bans portraying homosexuality to under-18s.

Europe’s football governing body has been criticised for not allowing Munich to use rainbow colours in the stadium.

Uefa said it had to deny the request given the political context in Hungary.

German press agency DPA said Mr Orban had cancelled his trip to Munich and was planning to travel to Brussels instead, where an EU leaders’ summit starts on Thursday.

There was no confirmation from the prime minister’s spokesman, who said: “We do not provide information, now as before, on Viktor Orban’s private programme.”

image copyrightMunich town hall

image captionMunich town hall posted a picture on social media showing the facade decorated in rainbow flags

Uefa rejected the request, insisting it was a “politically and religiously neutral organisation”. It later added a rainbow to its logo and said Munich’s request had been political, even though the rainbow symbol was not.

Uefa’s refusal was derided as “shameful” by Mayor Dieter Reiter, while Green party leader Annalena Baerbock called for rainbow colours to be displayed across Germany as a “strong message of diversity”.

Bavarian Premier Markus Söder said Germans had to “stand up against exclusion and discrimination” and Munich’s gay community said rainbow flags would be handed out to fans outside the Allianz Arena ahead of the match at 19:00 GMT.

image captionCampaigners were keen for as many fans as possible to wave rainbow flags inside the Allianz Arena in Munich

German captain Manuel Neuer, who wore a rainbow armband for the first two games, will continue to do so.

A number of stadiums in Germany have said they will light up in rainbow colours, and Munich town hall tweeted a picture of rainbow flags hoisted outside the building.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Hungarian law was “a shame” that went against European values.

What does Hungary say?

Mr Orban told DPA that modern Hungary protected the rights of homosexuals, but “whether the Munich football stadium or another European stadium lights up in rainbow colours is not a state decision”. In Budapest too, he said, rainbow colours were a normal part of the landscape.

Hungarian MPs voted last week to ban depiction or promotion of homosexuality to under-18s, as part of a law against paedophiles.

Justice Minister Judit Varga has rejected condemnation of the anti-LGBT law by 14 EU member states as based on “fake news”. It did not deprive anyone of their rights nor discriminate against any member of society, she insisted, complaining that the countries involved had not contacted Budapest to clarify the true meaning of the law.

media captionViktor Orban in London in May 2021: I’m anti-immigration but not anti-Semitic

Three Hungarian clubs – Ferencvaros, MTK in Budapest and DVSC in Debrecen – said they would light up their stadiums in the red, white and green colours of the national flag.

“Homeland above all,” wrote Ferencvaros president Gabor Kubatov on Facebook. He is also a leading figure in Mr Orban’s ruling Fidesz party.

How broad is the protest?

The outcry against Uefa’s decision has spread far beyond football and politics in Germany.

In Munich alone, the Olympic tower and an enormous wind turbine near the stadium are to be lit up in rainbow colours.

Outside the stadium, a campaign to get as many of the 11,000 supporters as possible to wear stickers or carry flags is being co-ordinated by Christopher Street Day, which organises annual LGBT parades in July across Germany. An estimated 2,000 Hungary fans are expected to attend the game.

Stadiums in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne and Wolfsburg are among a number planning to light up during the match in rainbow colours.

Clubs including Stuttgart posted simple messages ahead of the match.

Some of Germany’s biggest companies posted rainbow colours on Facebook and Twitter, including BMW, Volkswagen, Siemens and financial organisations such as Sparkasse and Hypovereinsbank.

Aus Protest gegen das Regenbogen-Verbot der UEFA taucht sich nun auch Münchens Wirtschaft in die Farben des Regenbogens: die Twitter-Profile vom BMW, Siemens, Sparkasse, HypoVereinsbank 👇 pic.twitter.com/VE6ls3Vgne

— Stefan Leifert (@StefanLeifert) June 22, 2021

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

German drag queen Olivia Jones started a petition online calling for Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst to sing the German anthem ahead of the match.

Syndicated from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-57579821