Soccer-UEFA sent report on homophobic banner at Budapest Euro match

(Reuters) - UEFA have been sent an official report on a homophobic banner at Tuesday’s Euro 2020 match between Hungary and Portugal.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group F - Hungary v Portugal - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 15, 2021 Hungary players applaud fans after the match Pool via REUTERS/Alex Pantling

The anti-discrimination group Fare, which monitors matches for incidents of racism and other forms of discrimination, has sent a report to UEFA and discussed the matter with officials.

Images on social media showed banners stating “Anti-LMBTQ’ using the Hungarian abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer.

Hungary’s parliament passed legislation on Tuesday that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change, amid strong criticism from human rights groups and opposition parties.

Fare was also critical of the booing of the Republic of Ireland team during a pre-tournament friendly with Hungary in Budapest, when the Irish team took the knee -- an anti-racist gesture.

“The situation in Hungary is problematic, we do need a better and more firm approach to respect for universal rights being conditional for hosting matches at major tournaments,” said Piara Powar, executive director of Fare.

“In Hungary last week the FA issued a statement once they knew the Irish players would take the knee to say it was a political gesture. This then prompted boos against the Irish players and then, a week later, in the same stadium a prominent banner has appeared that is homophobic.

“These are political acts in support and endorsement of the policies of the government which has just passed a law that is widely considered to marginalise the LGBTQ community,”

“You cannot make a distinction between the government’s position and what appears to be the position of the football association. It shows where Hungary is as a country. It doesn’t bode well for international events,” added Powar.

The Hungarian FA (MLSZ) and UEFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, which promotes a Christian-conservative agenda, tacked the proposal banning school talks on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues to a separate, widely backed bill that strictly penalises paedophilia.

The move, which critics say wrongly conflates paedophilia with LGBT issues, triggered a protest outside parliament on Monday, while several rights groups have called on Fidesz to withdraw the bill.

Under amendments submitted to the bill last week, under-18s cannot be shown any content that encourages gender change or homosexuality. This also applies to advertisements. The law sets up a list of organisations allowed to provide education about sex in schools.

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar