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Off the Pitch: Euro 2020 – Day 12

Wed 23 June 2021 | 15:30

What happened to the UEFA/Neuer drama? Who came out of the closet in the world of football? Follow us below as we bring you everything that happened off the pitch on Euro 2020 day 12.

Another beautiful day in the European Championship came to an end and we got to witness thrilling games of football, with Croatia battering Scotland 3-1 and

England

clutching yet another 1-0 victory against

Czech Republic

. But while world-class footballers were busy kicking the ball around on the field, much happened after the games and even off the pitch that attracted quite a lot of attention.

From Sadio Mane finally realizing his dream of building a hospital for his hometown in Senegal, to UEFA still pestering the German FA for their use of rainbow colored themes, we have a lot to talk about as football never stops. Let’s see how things went on day 12 of Euro 2020.

Euro 2020 – Day 12 Review

You remember that

Manuel Neuer

was recently investigated over him wearing a rainbow-colored captain’s armband in Euro 2020, which was considered “political” by UEFA, but was later accepted as a symbol of support for the LGBTQ+ community. Here is how UEFA managed to dig even deeper to find excuses for such symbols being political.

The political censor

It wasn’t too long ago when UEFA decided to open investigations into Manuel Neuer wearing a rainbow-colored captain’s armband during his first two matches in Euro 2020. Even though they later opted not to open any investigations and dropped all suspicions about the German goalkeeper wearing the armband due to any political reasons, it seems that UEFA are really not going to let it go with the Germans. They have just ordered the city of Munich not to light up Allianz Arena in rainbow colors before Germany’s match against Hungary today.

Munich’s mayor and the premier of Bavaria have both supported the decision to illuminate the Pride symbol prior to the game and have also asked UEFA to “work emphatically and visibly for tolerance and equality.” UEFA, however, doesn’t seem to budge as they still believe this gesture is a political one rather than a supportive one. They believe that this gesture is a direct response to a law passed in Hungary, which has banned schools from educating children about homosexuality and gender change.

The strength of coming out

Japanese footballer and

Washington Spirit

forward Kumi Yokoyama has come out as transgender man. “They” is the singular pronoun Yokoyama prefers to be called with. Many details about the footballer’s life as a transgender was revealed in a video that they posted to finally come out to the world. The forward, who was once nominated for the Puskas award, said the following on the video:

“I’m now open about my sexuality and gender. In the future, after I quite soccer, I want to start living as a man. Up until now, I’d dated several women over the years. But in Japan, I had to stay closeted. Because of the public eye, I couldn’t allow myself to come out. But when I went to America and Germany, I spoke with teammates about love.”

She went on to add: “In Japan they always asked me if I had a boyfriend. But here and in Germany, I’m asked if I have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I mean that’s normal. People who are living here are so open-minded. Like “I’m not LGBTQ+, but how about you?” Like that. Recently, the world of LGBTQ+ is spreading in Japan. It’s featuring a lot in the media. People who are in my position should speak up, otherwise we won’t advance.”

While the world has mostly come to accept the LGBTQ+ community, Yokoyama still expects there to be a backlash of some sorts, which will definitely make it more difficult for them. However, surely many will also support the Japan international in their journey towards finally becoming the person they want to be. Perhaps Manuel Neuer and the German national team will be on the frontlines of supporting the forward.

The real humanitarian

We all expected it, because we had all heard about it. We knew that

Sadio Mane

was trying his best and talking to the right authorities to start the construction of a hospital in his hometown of Bambali, Senegal. Well, we heard news of the

Liverpool

star finally succeeding in getting the right authorizations, as the construction already seems to be underway.

The Senegalese forward has also personally donated a whopping $693,000 to fund the construction of the hospital, which will in fact be the very first hospital in the town. This generosity has only gone on to further increase Mane’s fame and people’s love for the Senegal international.

Please, you two keep your distance

Many England fans are currently worried about the Three Lions as there seems to be new round of COVID-19 spreading inside the squad.

Ben Chilwell

and

Mason Mount

have already been forced to self-isolate as they were absent in their nation’s 1-0 win against Czech Republic. But while these two footballers were self-isolating, England star Declan Rice seemed to have no problem chatting with his West Ham teammates after their win at Wembley.

Rice was seen chatting with Toumas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal, his teammates at West Ham without wearing any masks. This friendly reunion led to the authorities taking action as a member of the staff approached the group and handed each of them a face mask, telling them to “please, you two keep your distance and do not talk for more than 15 minutes.”

While the global vaccination against COVID-19 is still ongoing and many are yet to be vaccinated, it seems that people just can’t wait for things to get back to normal as they frequently forget that we are still living in a pandemic-riddled world and need to follow the regulations and safety protocols that are put in action by the authorities.

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