Man City vs Burnley: Plane pulling ‘white lives matter’ banner flies above stadium

Mark Critchley, Tom Kershaw

Burnley are “ashamed and embarrassed” after a plane towing a banner reading “White Lives Matter” flew over the Etihad Stadium during the club’s match against Manchester City on Monday evening.

The aircraft was seen above the stadium just minutes after players and match officials took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It then continued to circle overhead as the game began, with the sound of its engine audible on Sky Sports’ live broadcast.

Premier League players have been wearing the name of the Black Lives Matter movement on the back of their shirts since the season resumed last Wednesday, as well as a logo on their shirt sleeves.

In a statement, Burnley stressed that the banner “in no way represents the club” and said that they will now work together with authorities to identify those who are responsible.

“Burnley Football Club strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner that flew over The Etihad Stadium on Monday evening,” a statement read. “We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor.

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

“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.”

The banner is pictured flying above the Etihad Stadium (PA)

Speaking after the game, Burnley captain Ben Mee said that those involved need to “come into the 21st century and educate themselves”.

“We can talk about football, but there’s something I want to speak about first,” Mee said. “The aeroplane that went out before the game – I’m ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to put that out.

“They’ve completely missed the point. A group of lads in there are embarrassed to see it. It’s not what we’re about at all and it misses the point of what we’re trying to achieve.

“These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves, as a lot of us do.

“It does not represent what we’re about, the players or the club are about or what the majority of fans are about for sure. It’s a small minority of people and I’m very upset that it happened.”

Asked about the banner, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said society could not overturn hundreds of years of racial injustice in one week.

“We need time, the racism is still there,” he said. “We have to fight every day and condemn the bad things.”

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