A plane which carried the words “White Lives Matter” was spotted flying above the Etihad during Burnley’s clash with Manchester City, causing an outrage in the midst ongoing protests and demonstrations against racial inequality.
Since the Premier League returned, players have worn “Black Lives Matter” on the back of their jerseys, with the tribute following protests that began in the U.S. after the death of George Floyd.
The protests have ignited demonstrations all over the world, with Weston McKennie, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Thuram among those to make displays in the Bundesliga, and Marcelo headlining those in La Liga.
Not long after Tuesday’s match which was between second-place Manchester City and 11th-place Burnley began, a plane carrying a banner that read “White Lives Matter Burnley” was seen flying across the stadium.
The display happened barely minutes into the match, moments just after the players on the pitch finished kneeling, and circled overhead for the first moments of the match.
The person who made payment for the banner to be displayed is yet to be confirmed, but reaction on social media immediately saw the message as offensive;
Burnley had released an official statement at half-time, which reads:
"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.”