UEFA says no rainbow-coloured ads at Euro 2020

UEFA says no rainbow-coloured ads at Euro 2020 games in Russia, Azerbaijan

Germany's gay and lesbian association (LSVD) expressed their fury at UEFA's stance

Germany fans hold up banners regarding LGBTQ+ rights before the match. Credit: Reuters Photo

UEFA has asked its main sponsors, including carmaker Volkswagen, not to display advertising banners in the rainbow colours of the LGBTQ community in Baku and Saint Petersburg for Euro 2020 matches, citing compliance with local laws.

"Due to UEFA's concerns about the legal framework for venues in Russia and Azerbaijan, the association informed us it wouldn't be possible to use rainbow-coloured advertising on billboards in Saint Petersburg and Baku," German automobile giant Volkswagen wrote in a statement sent to AFP.

When contacted by AFP, a spokesman said that while UEFA "fully supports" messages of "tolerance and respect", it asks sponsors "to ensure that their design complies with local legislation and this was not the case in Baku and Saint Petersburg".

Germany's gay and lesbian association (LSVD) expressed their fury at UEFA's stance.

Also read: UEFA's tryst with hypocrisy and homophobia

"UEFA's audacity and deceit are boundless. With this action, it is betraying not only lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans and intersex people in Azerbaijan and Russia, but also in the whole of Europe," said spokesman Alfonso Pantisano.

"Once again, during this European Championship, it becomes clear that UEFA's protestations of standing for a diverse, inclusive and discrimination-free society are as worthless as they are hypocritical."

Earlier in the tournament, during Germany's group-stage match against Hungary, the city of Munich wanted to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours in support of the LGBTQ community.

But UEFA denied local authorities permission.

Several Euro sponsors, including Volkswagen, instead broadcasted rainbow-coloured adverts in stadiums during the last 16 matches, although none of those games were played in Russia or Azerbaijan.

Volkswagen said it "regretted" UEFA's latest refusal, adding it had wanted to "send a clear signal in favour of diversity".

The company said it would be allowed to show rainbow-coloured advertising in Rome and London during the rest of the European Championship.

Switzerland face Spain in Saint Petersburg in the first quarter-final on Friday, with Denmark playing the Czech Republic in Baku on Saturday.