Richie Sadlier has hit out at UEFA for "hollow, cowardly statements" made after they denied a request to illuminate Munich's Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary

European football's governing body said it received the request from the mayor of the German city, Dieter Reiter, on Monday.

In the wake of that refusal, UEFA came in for heavy criticism and issued a statement in which they claimed to "respect the rainbow" and claimed that the request to have the stadium illuminated was a political decision, but then denied that they rainbow flag was a political symbol.

Speaking on RTÉ television, Sadlier attacked both UEFA's decision and their statement.

"I think UEFA had a choice here - they had the option to stand in solidarity with a community that has been routinely persecuted, marginalised, discriminated against, attacked in locations all over the world. The most recent attack is from the Hungarian parliament.

"They had a chance to do that and they didn't, and they've tied themselves up in knots - the statement there saying on the one hand the rainbow flag is not political, but the request to use it in the stadium is?

"They claim to be about certain values, and there's loads of statements - today's one is the latest one - where they claim to be about equality, and respect, and inclusion, and openness for all.

"You can't credibly claim to be for those things if you run scared at the first opportunity of being up against somebody who attacks those things, which is what they've done today.

"Whatever statements they put out now come out as hollow, cowardly statements."

Former Ireland international Damien Duff echoed Sadlier's sentiments and claimed that UEFA's stance was motivated by 'money and power'.

"To say it's political is absolutely nonsense," Duff claimed. "Like Richie said, I'm just echoing that, there was a chance to show support, their support for the LGBT community that's a global community, that's in Munich, that's in Budapest where recently they played France and there were homophobic chants, homophobic banners in the stadium.

"They talk about core values in their statement. Their core values - and not just because of today, because of my experience with them - it's just money and power. They're the two that jump out to me. They make out that they're about diversity and inclusion.

"They had a chance today to show that, absolutely not. The 'Respect' logo is absolutely everywhere but nobody respects them because of the way they do their work."

Speaking on Radio 1's Morning Ireland, Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers said he believed UEFA should have celebrated the request from Munich to light up the stadium.

It was "an opportunity missed", he said, really regrettable and out of touch with what most people across Europe would have liked to have seen.