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Wijnaldum could walk off pitch if racially abused

Georginio Wijnaldum

 

Netherlands captain Georginio Wijnaldum said he will wear a rainbow captain’s armband and could walk off the pitch if he is racially abused during the Euro 2020 round-of-16 clash with Czech Republic in Budapest on Sunday.

Hungary are under investigation from UEFA for “potential discriminatory incidents” during their games against France and Portugal in Budapest.

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Ahead of the match against France, Hungarian fans marched to the Puskas Arena displaying a banner calling on players to stop taking a knee to protest racism, while images on social media during their clash with Portugal showed banners with “Anti-LMBTQ” on them — the Hungarian abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

“It is not just against Hungary,” Wijnaldum said. “The armband means a lot because we stand for diversity — one love means everybody is a part of it and everybody should be free to be who they are.

“In our opinion [the right to be yourself] has been encroached upon. As players we have a podium to do whatever we can to help.”

Germany captain Manuel Neuer was the subject of a UEFA investigation for wearing a rainbow armband in support of Gay Pride Month but did not face any action as he was deemed to have been “promoting a good cause.”

The discussion around celebrating Gay Pride at the European Championship has intensified in recent days after UEFA rejected the city of Munich’s request to light the Allianz Stadium in rainbow colours for the visit of Hungary on Wednesday.

 

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