Sebastian Vettel sits in Aston Martin Formula One car
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Sebastian Vettel has backed his nation’s football team after UEFA declined a request to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours before Germany’s Euro 2020 match against Hungary on Wednesday.
The original request came from Munich mayor Dieter Reiter in a protest against a new law passed in Hungary that bans the sharing of any content seen as promoting homosexuality and gender change to under-18s.
However, in what Reiter described as “shameful”, UEFA said that the move was a “political” gesture and denied the request.
It comes as the governing body had previously agreed to allow Germany’s skipper Manuel Neuer to wear a rainbow armband.
The move was met with outrage, with UEFA slammed over their stance, with the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation saying they hoped the association accepts their “misstep and reverse[s] their decision” and “to clarify their actions in response to the homophobic behaviours we’ve seen in some matches.”
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And speaking ahead of the first of two races in Austria, Vettel said he was left confused by the decision.
“I don’t know all the details, I think to excuse it as a political message, I think that’s the wrong path.
“It’s definitely not harming anybody, and I think it was a great message that they were supposed to, or would’ve loved to, send out and were not allowed.
“I think some institutions need to rethink their approach on banning these types of messages, as I said, it’s definitely the way forward.
“I didn’t understand it.”
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In a statement on Wednesday, European football’s governing body said: “Today, UEFA is proud to wear the colours of the rainbow.
“It is a symbol that embodies our core values, promoting everything that we believe in – a more just and egalitarian society, tolerant of everyone, regardless of their background, belief, gender or sexual orientation.
“Some people have interpreted UEFA’s decision to turn down the city of Munich’s request to illuminate the Munich stadium in rainbow colours for a EURO 2020 match as ‘political’.
“On the contrary, the request itself was political, linked to the Hungarian football team’s presence in the stadium for this evening’s match with Germany.
“For UEFA, the rainbow is not a political symbol, but a sign of our firm commitment to a more diverse and inclusive society.”
Max Verstappen leads the driver standings heading into the first of two races at the Red Bull Ring, with Lewis Hamilton trailing by 12 points heading into round eight.
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