Burnley have placed on record their disgust after an "offensive" banner with the message 'White Lives Matter Burnley' flew above the Etihad Stadium during their 5-0 EPL defeat at Manchester City on Monday.
The message stood a stark and unwelcome contrast to the shows of unity and support that have taken place since the Premier League resumed, with all players wearing 'Black Lives Matter' on their shirts and taking a knee before kick-off.
'SADDEST DAY': Disbelief over tragic death of 17-year-old star
'NEVER BEEN SEEN’: Major controversy rocks EPL return
‘PRETTY GOOD’: Adult actress' love affair with Aussie star
A statement released at half-time read: "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.
REACTION | "It's clearly unacceptable."— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) June 22, 2020
Sean Dyche, the players and Burnley Football Club strongly condemn the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner that flew over The Etihad Stadium this evening.
WATCH MORE ➡️ https://t.co/xDATQMw2KO pic.twitter.com/b9QalFTcT8
"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."
Viewers condemn ‘shameful’ incident
Players, commentators and fans were incensed by the banner, with many wondering how and why the company that operates the aircraft agreed to it in the first place.
The disgusting stunt drew widespread criticism from within the Burnley club and viewers on social media.
Sickening to Witness: A light aircraft buzzes over stadium during Premier League game between Manchester City and Burnley towing a banner proclaiming "White Lives Matter - Burnley." Every Nation has so much work to do #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/hr9nRjuDH3— roger bennett (@rogbennett) June 22, 2020
That banner obviously doesn't represent Burnley fans, but it has so many troubling elements, beyond the base racism.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 22, 2020
Imagine what the discussion would be if supporters in Bulgaria, Hungary or Italy organised something similar.
And how was it agreed to?
It's an absolutely shocking moment, the true significance of which actually takes a bit to sink in.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 22, 2020
I would have thought that to be a pilot a degree of intelligence was required. Yet they found one brain-dead enough to do that. Shameful.— Tony McCabe (@mc_tone) June 22, 2020
Always thought City would benefit most from behind closed doors football, not seen anything to suggest that is wrong yet. Delighted Burnley were hammered after that banner, even though I’m sure the idiot behind it couldn’t care less. The pilot/plane company should be ashamed.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) June 22, 2020
A plane has just flown over the Man City V Burnley game with a banner that says “White lives matter - Burnley.”— Freddie (@FreddieBailey96) June 22, 2020
An absolute disgrace.
Very good that Ben Mee and Burnley FC immediately and strongly condemned a minority of their idiot fans— Andrew Fisher (@FisherAndrew79) June 22, 2020
Micah Richards also pointing out - why did the aeroplane company and pilot agree to fly that banner? #MCIBUR
It's 2020 and a banner with White Lives Matter Burnley is a disgrace...— Bonnie-Lad (@LadBonnie) June 22, 2020
You just couldn't make it up!
Clarets skipper furious about banner
Burnley captain Mee spoke angrily about the banner, insisting the players on the field were sickened by what they saw above their heads.
"We as a group of players condemn it, we're ashamed, we're embarrassed," he told BBC Radio Five Live.
"It completely misses the point of what we're trying to achieve as a football community.
"It's a minority of our supporters, I know I speak for a massive part of our support who distance ourselves from anything like that. It definitely had a massive impact on us to see that in the sky.
"We were embarrassed, disappointed, upset. We are embarrassed that our name was in it. That they tried to attach it to our club. It doesn't belong anywhere near our club. Fans like that don't deserve to be around football."
with Yahoo Sport staff