'White Lives Matter' banner flown over Manchester City match

The Premier League club brands the banner after it is towed by an aircraft above the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening.

Burnley have said they “strongly” condemn those responsible for flying a “White Lives Matter” banner over their Premier League match with Manchester City.

The football club branded the banner “offensive” after it was towed by an aircraft above the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening.

The small plane trailing the words “White Lives Matter Burnley” flew over the pitch shortly after kick-off.

A plane flies over the stadium with a banner reading 'White Lives Matter Burnley' during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Image: Burnley branded the banner

In a statement, Burnley said: “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 issue lifetime bans.”

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

After the game, Burnley captain Ben Mee said he was “ashamed” and “embarrassed” by the stunt from a “small number of fans”.

“It’s completely missed the point”, he told.

“These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves…. I’m really upset that happened.”

Burnley’s players and coaching staff had joined Manchester City in taking a knee as their match kicked off, becoming the 20th Premier League club to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Burnley's English manager Sean Dyche (2R) takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on June 22, 2020. (Photo by Michael Regan / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Burnley manager Sean Dyche (second right) had joined the club’s players and staff in taking a knee

Since the Premier League resumed on 17 June after a three-month break because of the coronavirus pandemic, all players have taken a knee before kick-off and have worn “Black Lives Matter” on their shirts.

It is a show of support for racial equality following widespread protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Kick It Out, English football’s anti-racism charity, said the sentiments of the banner flown over the Burnley game represented a grave misunderstanding of the Black Lives Matter initiative.

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Image: Players from all 20 Premier League clubs have taken a knee in recent matches

The organisation’s chairman Sanjay Bhandari said: “The point of Black Lives Matter is not to diminish the importance of other people’s lives.

“It is to highlight that black people are being denied certain human rights simply by virtue of the colour of their skin.

“It is about equality. We shall continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for greater equality for all in football.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has faced criticism after he called taking a knee a “symbol of subjugation and subordination” and suggested it was inspired by Game Of Thrones.

The symbolic gesture was popularised in 2016 when NFL star Colin Kaepernick got down on one knee while the US national anthem played before games to highlight racial inequality and police brutality.