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Munich denied in bid for rainbow-colored stadium to protest Hungary law
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Munich denied in bid for rainbow-colored stadium to protest Hungary law

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UEFA has denied a request to illuminate the Allianz Arena in rainbow colors for Germany’s match against Hungary.

MUNICH (AP) — German soccer clubs are banding together to display rainbow colors during the country's match against Hungary at the European Championship after UEFA rejected host city Munich's plan to do the same.

Clubs in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bremen and Düsseldorf will light up their venues during Wednesday’s final group game in Munich in response to UEFA’s decision to deny the city council’s application to have its stadium illuminated in rainbow colors.

UEFA, the European soccer governing body that has the final say as tournament organizer, said in a statement Tuesday that it understood the intention behind the council's proposal but "must decline this request" because of its political context — "a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament."

Bavaria's Lesbian and Gay Association said it will hold protests outside and inside the stadium.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter's application on behalf of the council made clear it wanted to protest a law passed by Hungarian lawmakers last week that prohibits sharing with minors any content portraying homosexuality or sex reassignment. The law was denounced as anti-LGBT discrimination by human rights groups.

Germany Euro 2020 Soccer Rainbow Colors

Munich’s stadium is illuminated in rainbow colors on the occasion of Christopher Street Day in Munich, Germany, on July 9, 2016. European soccer's governing body declined the Munich city council’s application to have the stadium illuminated in rainbow colors for Germany’s final Euro 2020 group game against Hungary on Wednesday.

Reiter described UEFA's decision as "shameful" and said it was "very disappointing" that the German soccer federation failed to give the city's proposal more support.

Federation spokesman Jens Grittner suggested Monday that it might be an option to display the colors in the days after Hungary's visit. Munich will host a quarterfinal match at Euro 2020 on July 2.

"A laughable counter-proposal," Reiter said. "I don't know what the point of this proposal is supposed to be."

Reiter said he expects to raise rainbow flags over city hall and have a wind turbine near the stadium and the city's Olympic Tower illuminated in rainbow colors, too.

"We in Munich certainly won't let ourselves be discouraged from sending a clear signal to Hungary and the world," Reiter said.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó criticized the German position on Monday.

"In Hungary we have passed a law to protect Hungarian children, and now in Western Europe they are griping about it," Szijjártó said in Luxembourg. "They want to express this by including politics in a sporting event, which has nothing to do with the passing of national laws."

UEFA said it believes "that discrimination can only be fought in close collaboration with others" and it proposed that Munich illuminates the stadium with the rainbow colors on June 28 for Christopher Street Day or between July 3-9 for the Christopher Street Day week in the city.

The body said these dates "align better with existing events."

But the delayed action undermines Munich's planned protest against what it calls "the homophobic and transphobic legislation of the Hungarian government."

Hungary's National Assembly approved the bill against sharing LGBT content with minors in a 157-1 vote last week, when one independent lawmaker voted against it and all other opposition parties boycotted the voting session in protest.

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