Lord Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

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Dear football players,

Fotoon behalf of the Senate of Hamburg, I would like to welcome you to the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association’s European Championship 2015.

Hamburg is an open-minded, tolerant city, a metropolis, where – with all its contrast – a harmonious social coexistence is not only possible but part of the day-to-day life.

Hamburg is enthusiastic for sports. Sport shapes the everyday life of all citizens, unifies them, and draws tens of thousands into stadiums, halls or to tracks, whenever marathons or the “Cyclassics” happen. Now we are planning something even bigger: Hamburg is Germany’s candidate to compete for the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 – and we are working hard to fulfil the dream every enthusiast of sports in Germany has.

You, my dear guests, play at the IGLFA European Championship 2015. I happily accepted the patronage for this championship. Regarding football, homosexuality is still a major topic – even after the remarkable and astonishing coming-out of Thomas Hitzlsperger one year ago, even after the brave words of world champion Nadine Angerer. Surely, homosexuals appear more confident in public now. Nonetheless: They come across reservations regarding themselves even in football – on the fields and in the stands. This has to change – and “the game is changing” as it says in your motto. Clubs and associations are making good progress to help overcome prejudices.

I wish for all visitors and especially the teams to have exciting, fair encounters – and a good time in Hamburg.

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Lord Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Olaf Scholz