Fan runs on field with rainbow flag during Hungarian anthem amid LGBTQ controversy at Euro 2020

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A Germany fan ran onto the field during the Hungarian national anthem and defiantly held up a rainbow flag before a Euro 2020 match on Wednesday.

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The pitch invasion, and the other rainbow flags that dotted the stands in Munich during the Group F game between Germany and Hungary, marked the latest episode in a controversy sparked by anti-LGBTQ legislation passed in Hungary last week.

Leon Goretzka, who has been outspoken in his support of the LGBTQ community, scored the tying goal late in the second half to seal Germany's advancement to the knockout stages.

After he scored, Goretzka made a heart symbol toward fans in the stands:

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The law, promoted by strongman prime minister Viktor Orban, bans LGBTQ representation in educational material at schools, or in kids television shows. Shortly after its passage, Hungarian fans displayed a “Anti-LMBTQ” banner at their Euro 2020 opener in Budapest.

UEFA, the European soccer governing body, did not act swiftly. More prominently, it opened an investigation into German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who has been wearing a rainbow captain's armband throughout the tournament in support of the LGBTQ community during pride month.

The investigation was quickly dropped after widespread backlash, with UEFA acknowledging the armband was for a "good cause." But it then denied a request from Munich to light up the Allianz Arena, the site of Wednesday's match, in rainbow colors. Munich mayor Dieter Reiter wished to do so to "send a visible message of solidarity to the LGBT community in Hungary, which is suffering under recent legislation passed by the Hungarian government."

UEFA responded with a statement: “UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organisation. Given the political context of this specific request — a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament — UEFA must decline this request.”

A Germany fan displays a rainbow flag before a Euro 2020 match against Hungary. (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
A Germany fan displays a rainbow flag before a Euro 2020 match against Hungary. (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)

The lack of public support for the LGBTQ community from UEFA created a defiant atmosphere at Wednesday's match. German fans showed up in rainbow-colored clothing, and with rainbow flags, as Germany's minister for Europe Michael Roth had encouraged them to do.

The pitch invasion was the most aggressive display of LGBTQ support. The fan, who also wore a Germany jersey, was tackled by security guards. Some German fans cheered him. Hungarian players stood stoically and sang their national anthem with right hands over hearts.

Few Hungarian players have spoken publicly about the anti-LGBTQ law, and they, of course, are not responsible for the government's actions. In fact, goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi posted a message on social media “standing up for rainbow families” earlier this year. Other players, though, have largely been silent as Hungarian LGBTQ groups attempt to fight bigotry.

Hungary hosted its first two Euro 2020 matches, then traveled to Munich for its third and final group match. It is also slated to host the 2022 Europa League final, another UEFA event.

Last week, Piara Powar, the executive director of FARE, a prominent organization fighting discrimination in sports, said: “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."

Germany fans, one holding a rainbow flag, cheer prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Germany fans, one holding a rainbow flag, cheer prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the    match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Germany fans, some wearing rainbow flags, shelter from the rain in ponchos prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Germany fans, some wearing rainbow flags, shelter from the rain in ponchos prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Germany fans with rainbow flags cheer prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Germany fans with rainbow flags cheer prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the    match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the    match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, GERMANY - JUNE 23: A fan of Germany with a rainbow flag takes a phoograph in front of the Allianz Arena soccer stadium ahead of the Euro 2020 Group F match between Germany and Hungary on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany during EURO 2020.  (Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, GERMANY - JUNE 23: A fan of Germany with a rainbow flag takes a phoograph in front of the Allianz Arena soccer stadium ahead of the Euro 2020 Group F match between Germany and Hungary on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany during EURO 2020. (Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany wearing rainbow masks gesture prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany wearing rainbow masks gesture prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
A fan wrapped in a Rainbow Flag waits for the start of the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A fan wrapped in a Rainbow Flag waits for the start of the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary at the Allianz Arena in Munich on June 23, 2021. (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: A fan is seen with a rainbow wig prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach - Pool/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: A fan is seen with a rainbow wig prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach - Pool/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany hold a rainbow flag prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany hold a rainbow flag prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany stay together with a rainbow flag ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Football Arena Munich on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Markus Gilliar/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany stay together with a rainbow flag ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Football Arena Munich on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Markus Gilliar/Getty Images)
Germany fans are wrapped in Rainbow flags as they gather outside the Allianz Arena ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary, in Munich, on June 23, 2021. - With Germany due to play Hungary on June 23, 2021 at the Allianz Arena in Munich, city authorities had planned to light the stadium up in rainbow colours to
Germany fans are wrapped in Rainbow flags as they gather outside the Allianz Arena ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 Group F football match between Germany and Hungary, in Munich, on June 23, 2021. - With Germany due to play Hungary on June 23, 2021 at the Allianz Arena in Munich, city authorities had planned to light the stadium up in rainbow colours to "send a visible sign of solidarity" with Hungary's LGBTQ community. (Photo by KERSTIN JOENSSON / AFP) (Photo by KERSTIN JOENSSON/AFP via Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the    match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: supporters of Germany with rainbow flags during the match between Germany v Hungary at the Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich Germany (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany covered with rainbow flags toast with beer in front of the Allianz Arena soccer stadium illuminated in green and blue ahead of the Euro 2020 Group F match between Germany and Hungary on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany during EURO 2020.  (Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany covered with rainbow flags toast with beer in front of the Allianz Arena soccer stadium illuminated in green and blue ahead of the Euro 2020 Group F match between Germany and Hungary on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany during EURO 2020. (Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany hold up rainbow flags prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 23: Fans of Germany hold up rainbow flags prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Germany and Hungary at Allianz Arena on June 23, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

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