UEFA Defends Display of Pride Flags in Budapest Stadium Fan Zone

UEFA says it supports the display of Pride flags inside or outside a Budapest stadium for Sunday’s Netherlands versus Czech Republic clash, but that it doesn’t control separate fan zones at the Euro 2020 tournament.

The soccer body “would very much welcome any such symbol into the fan zone,” it said in a statement to Bloomberg News, adding that such areas come “under the responsibility of the local authorities.”

Fan zones are typically areas outside or away from a sports stadium where additional people gather to watch the event, often on a large screen.

The statement came after the Dutch media reported that UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations, had banned the rainbow-colored flags, typically associated with the LBGTQ movement, for Sunday’s game at Puskas Arena. Soccer fans also shared the story on Twitter.

UEFA said it informed Hungarian authorities that Pride symbols aren’t political, and that consistent with the association’s Equal Game campaign -- which aims at fighting against any type of discrimination -- they would be allowed into the stadium.

Hungary under President Viktor Orban has a history of promoting anti-gay positions and policies. The country’s parliament this month approved legislation outlawing content for children that can be deemed to “promote homosexuality.”

The measure, which equates members of the LGBTQ community with pedophiles, extends a law adopted in 2020 that effectively bans same-sex partners from adopting children, and enshrines in the constitution that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

The issue became a flashpoint at a European Union summit in Brussels last week when European leaders, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte challenged Orban to trigger the process of leaving the bloc over his views.

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