The start to Manchester City’s Premier League match against Burnley on Monday was marred by a plane flying overhead pulling a banner reading “White lives matter Burnley”.
The aircraft was seen flying above City’s Etihad Stadium shortly after all players and match officials had taken a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It reportedly continued to circle the stadium after kick-off.
Burnley was quick to react, issuing a statement at half-time saying the 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 take appropriate action.
“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.”
Players in the Premier League have been wearing shirts bearing the Black Lives Matter slogan.
The gesture comes following the death of black American George Floyd at the hands of police last month, which sparked protests around the world and led to sportspeople showing solidarity with those demonstrations.