Police say Burnley ‘White Lives Matter’ stunt was not a criminal offence

Police say Burnley ‘White Lives Matter’ stunt was not a criminal offence 1
A plane flies over the stadium with a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ (Picture: PA)

 

Police investigating the ‘White Lives Matter’ banner flown over Monday’s Premier League game between Manchester City and Burnley have said no criminal offence took place.

The plane flew over the Etihad Stadium moments after players on both sides had taken a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

One senior officer said earlier that the stunt had ‘caused offence to many people in Lancashire and beyond’.

However, Lancashire Police announced that after assessing all the available information surrounding the incident, the force has concluded ‘that there are no criminal offences that have been disclosed at this time’.

Manchester City v Burnley FC - Premier League
The banner was flown during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium (Picture: Getty Images)

 

Chief Superintendent Russ Proctor added: ‘We will continue to work with our partners at the football club and within the local authority.’

The force also said it had liaised with Greater Manchester police, the Aviation Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service over the course of the day.

The plane was allegedly paid for by Burnley supporters, with one associated with the former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson.

After claiming responsibility for the stunt he deactivated his social media account.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020 in Manchester, England. Football stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venus resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
It flew overhead moments after the players took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement (Picture: Getty Images)

 

Burnley said it will issue lifetime bans to those responsible.

In a statement the club apologised ‘unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter’.

Speaking after their 5-0 defeat, Burnley captain Ben Mee said he felt ‘ashamed and embarrassed’ by the incident.

He told Sky Sports: ‘I’m ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to put that around the stadium.

‘It doesn’t represent what we’re about, what the club is about, what the players are about and what the majority of the fans are about.

‘It’s a small minority of people and I’m really upset that it happened.

‘As we were coming out we heard some whispers that it was going to happen. The club tried to stop it.’

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