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Burnley FC apologise for fan flying ‘White Lives Matter’ banner

Burnley FC has apologised and vowed to hand out lifetime bans after a plane carrying a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was flown over the Eithad stadium ahead of the team’s match with Manchester City this evening. 

A private plane bearing the message flew over the stadium in Manchester just moments after both Burnley and Manchester players took a knee to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Jake Hepple, a Burnley local, has claimed responsibility for the stunt sharing a video of the plane to his Facebook along with a refusal to apologise.

Mr Hepple wrote: ‘I’d like to take this time to apologise .. TO ABSOLUTELY F****** NOBODY!

‘It’s now apparently racist to say white lives matter (the day after three white people got murdered in a park in Reading, but all we’ve seen on the TV is black lives matter after George Floyd got murdered) what a mad world we live in.’ 

A plane carrying a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was flown over the Eithad stadium ahead of the team’s match with Manchester this evening

In addition to taking a knee before games, all Premier League players have worn the words Black Lives Matter on the back on their shirts and a logo on the sleeve of jerseys to show support for the movement. 

Black Lives Matter protests erupted worldwide following the death of George Floyd, 46, who died after police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on his neck for nine minutes, in Minneapolis, U.S., on May 25. 

Tonight’s aerial display reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ appeared to mock the movement, which is fighting against racism.

Burnley said in a statement: ‘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.

The private plane crossed the sky above the stadium just moments after both Burnley and Manchester players took a knee to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement

The private plane crossed the sky above the stadium just moments after both Burnley and Manchester players took a knee to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement

Tonight's aerial display reading 'White Lives Matter Burnley' appeared to mock the movement, which is fighting against racism

Tonight’s aerial display reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ appeared to mock the movement, which is fighting against racism

Jake Hepple (pictured left with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson) has claimed responsibility for the stunt

Jake Hepple (pictured left with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson) has claimed responsibility for the stunt

Jake Hepple, a Burnley local, has claimed responsibility for the stunt sharing a video of the plane to his Facebook along with a refusal to apologise

Jake Hepple, a Burnley local, has claimed responsibility for the stunt sharing a video of the plane to his Facebook along with a refusal to apologise

‘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.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche and staff take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020

Burnley manager Sean Dyche and staff take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City takes a knee in support of Black Lives Matter

Referee Andre Marriner kneels in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020

Referee Andre Marriner (right) and Sergio Aguero of Manchester City (left) kneels in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the match 

‘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.’ 

Burnley FC Police tweeted: ‘We are aware who was involved, so are the club!! Thank you for reporting! This will be dealt with ASAP!’ 

Former Premier League striker Darren Bent tweeted in response to the plane’s message: ‘Strange considering Burnley have NO black players in their squad at all’. 

Jake Hepple (pictured) said in a statement to Facebook that he did not want to apologise for the incident

Jake Hepple (pictured) said in a statement to Facebook that he did not want to apologise for the incident 

Mr Hepple shared photos and a video to Facebook of the plane carrying the message 'White Lives Matter Burnley'

Mr Hepple shared photos and a video to Facebook of the plane carrying the message ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’

Burnley FC Police said they were aware who was involved in the incident, as were Burnley FC

Burnley FC Police said they were aware who was involved in the incident, as were Burnley FC

Former Premier League striker Darren Bent tweeted in response to the plane's message

Former Premier League striker Darren Bent tweeted in response to the plane’s message

Sam Lee tweeted: 'There's a plane flying over the Etihad that says 'White lives matter - Burnley'. F****** hell, what an absolute embarrassment. Absolute disgrace'

Sam Lee tweeted: ‘There’s a plane flying over the Etihad that says ‘White lives matter – Burnley’. F****** hell, what an absolute embarrassment. Absolute disgrace’

Sports commentator Sam Lee tweeted: ‘There’s a plane flying over the Etihad that says ‘White lives matter – Burnley’. F****** hell, what an absolute embarrassment. Absolute disgrace.’

While others questioned who owned the plane and if a company had agreed to fly the message.  

Players have been taking to their knees throughout the Premier League in a sign of support in the fight against inequality and injustice which was adopted by sports stars in 2016 after NFL player Colin Kaepernick knelt during the U.S. national anthem.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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