UEFA have been forced to close down an investigation into Manuel Neuer’s rainbow armband after it was decided the rainbow is not political but a symbol for diversity.

Manuel Neuer Deutsche Fussball Nationalmannschaft DFB gestikuliert, gibt Anweisungen gesticulate giving instructions enttaeuscht traurig frustriert dissapointed Muenchen
Manuel Neuer Deutsche Fussball Nationalmannschaft DFB gestikuliert, gibt Anweisungen gesticulate giving instructions enttaeuscht traurig frustriert dissapointed Muenchen

Neuer had been facing a fine for wearing a ‘political’ symbol but the rainbow represents equality for the LGBTQ+ community and, if you’re of a mind to call that ‘politics,’ then you might consider you could be part of the problem.

Anyway, UEFA have realised that it’s not a good look to be clamping down on rainbow armbands at a time when more and more countries are enacting laws to roll back rights for queer people.

The German FA (DFB) tweeted: ‘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”.’

UEFA are also set to open an investigation into anti-LGBT banners in the stands at Hungary’s matches with Portugal and France in Budapest after they were sent a report.

Hungary will play their final group game at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena. Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter has applied to FIFA to light the Allianz Arena up in rainbow colours in support of the LGBT community.

“This is an important sign of tolerance and equality,” said Reiter. The stadium colours would also serve as a protest against a law passed by Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday that prohibits “the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change, amid strong criticism from human rights groups and opposition parties,” [CNN’s wording].

What that means is kids in school won’t be allowed to be taught that queer people exist, leaving generations of LGBTQ+ Hungarian children facing an even more hostile struggle just to be themselves.

It’s also interesting to note that many of the mainstream publications that have covered this have taken a similar tone to Hungary in their wording, making it sound like something sinister is being banned when the reality is the ban will cause untold harm to these young queer folk.

“Very concerned about the new law in Hungary,” the EU Commission President Urusla von der Leyen personally tweeted. “We are assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation. I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children.

“No one should be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation,” von der Leyen said.”

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders also tweeted to say, “I deeply regret the new law in Hungary that bans the portrayal of homosexuality to minors,”

“When building their own identities, younger generations need to have access to information that reflects a modern and truly open society, in all its diversity. No one should be censored,” Reynders wrote, closing his post with a rainbow flag.

A spokesperson for the Hungarian FA told The Athletic: “The Hungarian Football Federation and the Hungarian National Team gives maximum respect to everyone, be they a teammate, an opponent, a fan or anyone else. Football could become the most popular sport in the world precisely because it belongs to everyone.

“Our federation has been fighting all forms of hatred and discrimination for years as part of its ‘Hate is not OK’ campaign. The flag in question was removed from the stadium as soon as it was noticed.”

The legislation in Hungary passed by 157 votes for to 1 againt.


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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.