ChampionsLeagueholdersBayernMunichhavebeen toldbyUEFA toclosepartoftheirstadiumandfined€10,000followingtwobanners,includingonethatwashomophobic,displayedduringtheChampionsLeaguematchagainstArsenal,attheAllianzArenaonthe11March.
One banner carried an illustration with a clear homophobic message directed at the Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil and the other a message of support for Kosovo’s membership of FIFA.
The sanction has been welcomed for the consistency it demonstrates in tackling all forms of discrimination and setting an example in dealing with homophobic abuse.
The German LGBT rights group and Fare member ‘Bildungs – und Sozialwerk’ welcomed the decision.
“This kind [homophobic] of behaviour is not acceptable. We welcome the way UEFA has responded to the incident,” said spokesperson Sacha King.
“We would like to see the German Football Association (DFB) adopt a similar procedure. The incident at Bayern shows that homophobia is not only present in fan curves, but also, unfortunately, on the stands”, she added.
Nevertheless, the outcome of UEFA’s disciplinary hearing has been received with dismay by some working with the club.
“It’s too harsh” say Bayern group
“We believe this is a very harsh sanction for a first offence. We understand the message this punishment aims to send, but other solutions, such as campaigns or donating the fine to LGBTI organisations, would have been more useful than a collective punishment”, said Mario Weiße, a representative of Queerpass Bayern an LGBT fan group of the club.
Following the incident on 11 March Queerpass, who have been working actively with the club since 2006 and are part of the ‘Queer Football Fanclubs’ network in Germany, said:
“It is with great dismay that Queerpass Bayern acknowledged the display of an homophobic banner during yesterday’s game.
“Yesterday’s incident shows, once more, that the road is not yet completed and further efforts are needed to ban the last discriminatory ideas from the stage and from the minds of the people. Even if we consider the incident on Tuesday as an isolated case, this is still unacceptable and we apologize on behalf of all the Bayern fans.”