A Danish fans who was captured apparently having an LBGT rainbow flag confiscated during his country’s 2-1 Euro 2020 quarter-final win over the Czech Republic in Baku yesterday has spoken to the press about the incident.
Not for the first time in the tournament, UEFA was forced to release a statement on Saturday as photos emerged online of security in the Olympic Stadium of the Azerbaijani capital talking to a pair of Denmark fans and appearing to take the item in question off them.
“UEFA never instructed stewards in Baku – or in any other stadium – to confiscate rainbow flags,” UEFA’s correspondence began.
“We are currently investigating what happened and we will of course contact the UEFA delegate, UEFA Security officer and local authorities to clear this up.
“The rainbow flag is a symbol that embodies UEFA core values, promoting everything that we believe in – a more just and egalitarian society, tolerant of everyone and UEFA has ensured that the flag was returned to the supporter,” the statement finished.
According to the Evening Standard in London, however, UEFA went into more detail and claimed: “The initial information we received was that the supporter in question appeared heavily intoxicated and that some local supporters turned aggressive towards him.
“The local stewards intervened and allowed the supporter to remain, despite his state.”
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) July 3, 2021
A day after their homeland reached the semi-finals to meet England at Wembley on Wednesday, Kristoffer Fons gave his account to Danish broadcaster DR, claiming: “An official guard came up to me and pulled the flag out of my hands.
“I thought before going to Baku that we are going to a place where human rights are not really a thing.
“I have been very skeptical about the fact that the World Cup is being held in Qatar so I thought that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t do anything,” he insisted.
Denmark’s minister for equality, Peter Hummelgaard, has elsewhere expressed anger with the removal of the flag.
“We must not lose this fight for equality because this is about some basic human rights,” he said.
“We have to be strong in the middle of this fight to have the right to love whoever you want to. And the right to live as you want and be who you are.
“There are some countries, organizations and people are who actively fighting these rights with everything they can. The fight is not easy to win because there are strong forces against it, but that does not make the struggle any less important,” Hummelgaard finished.
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In a running theme at the Euros, Munich City Council were refused the right to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colors for Germany’s final group match against Hungary, in protest at new laws passed in Budapest.
Last Sunday, there were reports of Netherlands fans being unable to enter the Puskas Arena in Budapest or a fan zone in the city with rainbow flags either, before their nation was defeated by the Czech Republic in the last 16.
And prior to the weekend, German car manufacturer Volkswagen had plans for LGBTQ-themed advertising in St. Petersburg and Baku reportedly rejected for two quarter-final matches.