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Restart A Great Success…..But “The Plane”

As the second round of matches without spectators is well under way, it’s fair to say that it has proved to be a great success, so far, to get football restarted.

One or two results have been unusual in both the Premier League and the Championship, especially with Brighton & Hove Albion collecting the points against Arsenal and Cardiff City disposing of league pacemakers Leeds United.

The latest bout of Covid-19 tests have revealed only one person out of more than 1800 tested to have been in contact with the dreaded disease, so everything, so far, is going according to plan. The results have once more brought forward the fact that it is now still possible for Liverpool to win the Premier League title at the Etihad when they play Manchester City in a week’s time, but in the absence of fans approaching stadiums in any matches so far, it is unlikely that this will change on such an important night for the club.

So, everything was looking good in football terms …until last night when a light aircraft was spotted flying around the Etihad Campus trailing a banner bearing the words “White Lives Matter – Burnley”

It was good to see that host broadcaster Sky Sports offered it no publicity and that Burnley FC quickly distanced themselves from the occurrence. Football just doesn’t need this sort of thing bearing in mind the events taking place around the world at this time. Burnley is a multi-cultural town where a number of different cultures have co-existed quite easily for many years. When I have visited Burnley, there doesn’t seem to be any “edge” between the cultures and I have enjoyed some excellent and intelligent conversations, particularly with the Asian people about the origins of their families, food, and religion among other things. Several Asian people from Burnley work for the steward agencies, notably G4S Events and Showsec International and are extremely conscientious in the way they go about their work. They, too, do not need to see this sort of thing. Team Manager Sean Dyche and Captain Ben Mee quite rightly said that this was not normal for Burnley’s fans and that they were extremely disappointed to see this happen at a match involving their club.

This is what the Burnley FC Club Statement looked like.

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.

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The FSOA supports this view as it has no place in football, and hopes that the people involved can be brought to justice and not only banned from Burnley FC, but have a custodial sentence added. Maybe the pilot’s actions should also be called into question. They shouldn’t be difficult to trace.

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