Burnley FC has condemned the 'White Lives Matter' banner flown above Etihad Stadium - read the team's statement in full
Burnley Football Club has condemned the banner flown over the Etihad Stadium on the night of Monday 22 June, just after kick-off between the team and Manchester City.
The banner, attached to a plane, read 'White Lives Matter Burnley'. The incident took place moments after all players had taken a knee on the pitch in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Burnley FC issued a strong statement during half-time, distancing itself from those responsible for the banner, and confirming that it is "fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative."
Burnley FC's statement in full
"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.
"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.
"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."
A police investigation has been launched
Former Burnley manager, Eddie Howe, praised the club's response, saying, "I thought the club's response was emphatic. I echo Ben Mee's comments, who I thought spoke really well after the game and I'm sure it's a very small minority of Burnley supporters who have done that.
"The majority of Burnley supporters who I met in my time there were fantastic people. On behalf of this club we are anti all racism and discrimination."
Replying to an image of the plane and banner on Twitter, former Premier League striker, Darren Bent, wrote, "Strange considering Burnley have NO black players in their squad at all."
Responding to this, current Burnley player Dwight McNeil wrote, "As a player of BAME origin, I find Darren Bent's comments tonight completely disrespectful, especially to my father, who is black and who has been a huge influence in my life and helped make me the person I am proud to be."
Lancashire Constabulary's East Division Football Unit, which is responsible for policing at Burnley matches, tweeted that it is "aware of the incident" and "will be fully investigating".