UEFA denies it banned LGBT flags from Budapest stadium, Dutch fan zone ahead of Oranje match
Update, 5 p.m., 27 June 2021: This story was modified, and changes were made to the headline after UEFA responded.
European football association UEFA denied earlier reports that it banned LGBT flags from appearing inside the Puskás Aréna in Budapest during the Euro 2020 clash between the Netherlands and Czech Republic. Dutch football association KNVB had told NOS and Nu.nl that the flags were banned from the stadium and the Oranje fan zone in Budapest, and only flags representing the countries in the tournament would be permitted.
“UEFA today informed the Hungarian Football Federation that rainbow-coloured symbols are not political and in line with UEFA’s EqualGame campaign, which fights against all discrimination, including against the LGBTQI+ community, such flags will be allowed into the stadium,” UEFA said in a statement on Twitter just before 5 p.m.
Numerous Dutch fans reported on social media that they were forced to hand in their rainbow flags to security personnel. Dutch fans who wore t-shirts, face masks and captain's armbands featuring rainbow colors were allowed to keep them, Nu.nl reported.
“Contrary to some reports in Dutch media, UEFA would like to clarify that it has not banned any rainbow-coloured symbols from the fan zone in Budapest, which is under the responsibility of the local authorities. UEFA would very much welcome any such symbol into the fan zone,” UEFA said.
The Netherlands has been a vocal critic of a law put forward in Hungary that would outlaw openly discussing or educating people about gender and sexual minorities. Regardless, only UEFA can decide what is permitted in the stadium and the fan zone, KNVB spokesperson Daan Schippers told NOS in Budapest at about 4 p.m., with match set to begin at 6 p.m.
"We are pro-rainbow flag and have therefore started the OneLove campaign." Fans were being told to put rainbow flags in a locker at the fan zone entrance, he said. "But I've seen some people walking around the fan zone in full rainbow suits here."
The captain of the Dutch national football team, Geroginio Wijnaldum, is set to wear a band around his arm with #onelove written on it as a sign of support for the LGBTQ+ community. The hashtag was an initiative from the KNVB last year to promote inclusivity with people of diverse ethnicities, genders and sexualities.
"We are proud of that," Schippers said of the action. "All KNVB directors are also wearing a pin from the OneLove campaign today."
This weekend there was a campaign targeting fans who departed to the Hungarian capital from Schiphol this weekend, where they were handed rainbow flags and sweatbands at the airport. The flags read "A szerelem mindenkié”, which means “love is for everyone” in Hungarian.