Burnley football club have condemned a “White Lives Matter” banner that was flown over Manchester City’s Etihad stadium ahead of their English Premier League match on Monday.
Since the English Premier League’s resumption last week, all players of the 20 top-flight clubs have replaced their names with the message “Black Lives Matter” on the back of their jerseys.
“We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor,” read the Burnley statement.
“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.”
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“We apologize unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote ‘Black Lives Matter.'”
Manchester City won the game 5-0 to keep alive its slim hope of retaining the Premier League title.
This incident comes at a time when the Premier League and its clubs are throwing their weight behind the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd in the US city of Minneapolis last month.
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When the league season resumed last week amid the coronavirus outbreak, “Black Lives Matter” replaced player names on the backs of shirts. Players, coaches and match officials have taken a knee for about 10 seconds before kick-off in the first 12 matches.
Still embarrassed, Burnley defender, Ben Mee told Sky Sports after the match fans need to come into the 21st century educated.
“I am ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to fly that around the stadium.”
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“These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves. They don’t represent what we are about, the club is about, the players are about and the majority of fans are about.”
“As we were coming out we heard some whispers that it was going to happen. The club tried to stop it. I’ve heard it is a small number that have arranged this and I hope it doesn’t happen again. I don’t want to associate it with my club. I don’t want to see this in the game.”
Moreso, the UK police is investigating ‘White Lives Matter’ banner which was flown over Man.U’s stadium.
The aircraft came into view moments after players and coaches from both clubs took a knee at kick-off on Monday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It circled the stadium for several minutes.
Police in Lancashire said on Twitter they will be “fully investigating” the incident on Tuesday. The banner was quickly condemned by Burnley, which has said it would “work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans”.