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“White Lives Matter” banner flown above football match

“White Lives Matter” banner flown above football match

Burnley have criticised a banner displaying “White Lives Matter Burnley” after it was flown above the Etihad Stadium, during a game against Manchester City on Monday night.

The club quickly put out a statement after the banner, which was towed by a plane, flew over the grounds of the stadium.

Just a few minutes before, team members and match officials had taken a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor,” the statement read.

“This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans.

“The club has a proud record of working with all genders, religions and faiths through its award-winning Community scheme, and stands against racism of any kind. We are fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative and, in line with all other Premier League games undertaken since Project Restart, our players and football staff willingly took the knee at kick-off at Manchester City.

“We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”

After Manchester City took the victory 5-0, Burnley defender Ben Mee took aim at the banner, saying: “We can talk about football, but there’s something I want to speak about first: the plane banner.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed at the fans bringing that out. They’ve completely missed the point. These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves.”

“It doesn’t represent what we’re about, what the club’s about, what the players are about and what the majority of our fans are about. We’d heard some whispers that it might happen and the club tried to stop it. I hope it doesn’t happen again. I’m upset that it’s associated with our club, my club.”

The former Manchester City defender Micah Richards, said on Sky Sports: “It’s so disheartening, especially with how far we’ve cone in these last couple of weeks. It really does hurt me.” 

European quality body, Fare, released a statement slamming the stunt.

“The racist backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement across Europe is a trend we have seen and documented,” Fare’s executive director, Piara Powar said.

“Set against the BLM message of equal rights ‘White Lives Matter’ can only be motivated by racism and a denial of equal rights. It shows exactly why the fight for equality is so important and why the majority of people have supported it.

“At this stage we don’t know who is behind this, but it’s clear they don’t see the relevance of the message to football or the impact that racism has on so many peoples lives. So be it. The movement, the issues that are being discussed and the change that will arise is unstoppable. History will judge that this was a moment that led to change.”