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UEFA denies claims it ordered confiscation of rainbow flags from Dutch fans at Euro 2020 fanzone in Budapest

UEFA denies claims it ordered confiscation of rainbow flags from Dutch fans at Euro 2020 fanzone in Budapest
UEFA has moved to deny claims that it ordered the confiscation of LGBTQ rainbow flags from Dutch fans as they gathered in Budapest to take on the Czech Republic at Euro 2020.

The Athletic relayed the news from Dutch outlets which have their reporters on the ground in the Hungarian capital.

It was alleged that security guards had taken rainbow flags from supporters that were attempting to enter the stadium with them under UEFA instruction.

Separately, Mitra Nazar - a Dutch journalist based in Istanbul - told of how her country's FA, the KNVB, has said that fans are being asked to "put away their rainbow flags in a locker" before entering the specially-designated fanzone in Budapest.

On Twitter, UEFA moved to deny any involvement. 

"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," a statement said.

"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 was already under fire from activists after the Euro 2020 organizer declined a Munich City Council request to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colors during a Germany versus Hungary match, in protest at laws against the spread of homosexuality information to minors that have been passed in the latter country.

UEFA was also criticized for launching and then closing an investigation into Die Mannschaft skipper Manuel Neuer for wearing a rainbow armband at the tournament.

But the organization has reportedly now allowed sponsors such as Booking.com to run rainbow-themed pitchside advertising hoardings through the last 16, and won't step in the way of Oranje captain Gini Wijnaldum donning a "one love" armband akin to Neuer.   

Some have claimed that there is "undeniably a politically charged element to tonight's game in Budapest", with  Dutch PM Mark Rutte refusing to attend while saying "Hungary has no place in the EU anymore."

Potential trouble in the stands could see local fans pledge their allegiance to conservative leader Viktor Orban, for whom the passing of the recent law on the spread of homosexual and transgender information to minors was considered an important political victory.

Also on rt.com UEFA investigates ‘potential discriminatory incidents’ at Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 clash after ‘anti-LGBT banner & chanting’