The German football association (DFB) has confirmed that UEFA has halted an investigation into Manuel Neuer’s rainbow-coloured captain’s armband.
Neuer has been wearing the rainbow colours to show support for the LGBT+ community during ‘Pride Month’.
Why might Germany have been punished?
Neuer has worn the rainbow-coloured armband during the Euro 2020 clashes against France and Portugal. He also wore it in the pre-tournament friendly win against Latvia.
It appeared when the investigation was opened that UEFA had determined that it is a political symbol and has prohibited such demonstrations from players and teams.
What has the DFB said?
In a statement, the DFB confirmed: “UEFA have today shared with the DFB that they have stopped the review of the rainbow captain’s armband worn by [Manuel Neuer]. In a letter, the armband has been assessed as a team symbol for diversity and thus for a ‘good cause.'”
“The regulations state that the armband officially provided by UEFA must be worn. June is also a year of ‘Pride’ in sport to stand up for more diversity. This year the DFB is participating with various campaigns. Manuel Neuer has been wearing the rainbow armband since the friendly against Latvia on June 7 as a symbol and clear commitment of the entire team to diversity, openness and tolerance and against hatred and exclusion. The message is: we are colourful! ”
UEFA criticised for lack of LGBT+ support
The investigation into the DFB comes just as European football’s governing body has faced criticism over claims Budapest could be given a bigger role in Euro 2020.
Denmark and Chelsea star Pernille Harder has called on UEFA to “step up” and refrain from moving more matches to Hungary after the government introduced new anti-LGBT+ legislation.
The Puskas Arena has hosted two matches in the summer tournament and there are still two more to be played in the Hungarian capital – the Group F clash between Portugal and France and a last-16 tie.
But UEFA has not ruled out moving the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final from Wembley if Covid-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom are not lifted. The Times recently reported that government ministers are discussing a proposal to exempt UEFA officials, guests and sponsors as well as international broadcasters from having to quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the UK.
What has been said?
Budapest has been highlighted as the favourite alternative to host those matches, but Harder has called on UEFA to look elsewhere.
Harder tweeted: “Devastated to see that the Hungarian parliament passed new anti LGBT+ legislation this week criminalising education and advertising of LGBT content to young people. We, the LGBT+ community, are people. We are human beings. We deserve the right to be treated like everyone else.
LGBT+ discrimination at Budapest
UEFA is currently investigating claims of discrimination at the Puskas Arena during the two matches it has hosted so far.
Images of anti-LGBT+ banners in the arena were shared on social media during Hungary’s defeat to Portugal and UEFA announced it has appointed an investigator to look into the matter.
A statement read: “In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, an UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding potential discriminatory incidents which occurred in the Puskás Aréna, Budapest, during the 2020 European Championship group stage matches between the national teams of Hungary and Portugal on 15 June 2021 and between the national teams of Hungary and France played on 19 June 2021.”
What legislation did Hungary pass this week?
The concerns surrounding discrimination in Budapest come just days after the government passed controversial legislation.
The legislation bans schools from disseminating content deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change.
Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party attached the changes to a separate bill penalising paedophilia, making it difficult for other parties to vote against.
The nationalist prime minister has increasingly railed against the LGBT+ community and been heavily criticised by anti-discrimination and human rights groups.