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DUP MP Gregory Campbell questions response to 'White Lives Matter Burnley' banner

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A plane flies over the Etihad with a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ during the Premier League match in Manchester. (Shaun Botterill/PA)

A plane flies over the Etihad with a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ during the Premier League match in Manchester. (Shaun Botterill/PA)

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A plane flies over the Etihad with a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ during the Premier League match in Manchester. (Shaun Botterill/PA)

A DUP MP has questioned the response of football authorities to a controversial banner that was flown over Manchester City's stadium during a Premier League tie against Burnley.

As the game was beginning a plane flew overhead trailing a message reading "White Lives Matter Burnley". The incident sparked outrage from the clubs involved with Burnley apologising and pledging to ban those responsible from its ground for life.

In a post on social media, Gregory Campbell asked if football authorities understood what they were doing.

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DUP MP Gregory Campbell

DUP MP Gregory Campbell

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

DUP MP Gregory Campbell

Posting on Facebook shortly after the game, Mr Campbell examined the statement made by Burnley.

"Do football authorities understand what they are doing?" he said before going on to quote the club statement.

"Tonight 'Burnley strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner,' next 'We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor'.

"Then 'We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter'.

"Burnley added that the banner 'in no way represents' what the club stands for and that they will 'work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and take appropriate action'.

"The 'crime' was a plane with banner that said 'White Lives Matter Burnley'."

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Gregory Campbell took to social media following the incident on Monday night.

Gregory Campbell took to social media following the incident on Monday night.

Gregory Campbell took to social media following the incident on Monday night.

Players had taken in a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement at the start of Monday night's game shortly before the plane's appearance.

The Black Lives Matter campaign has gained international attention following the death of George Floyd last month. He died after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes after he was arrested. He pleaded with the officers involved, he couldn't breathe.

Burnley issued a statement during the game strongly condemning the actions of the supporters behind the stunt.

"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," a spokesperson said.

"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 captain Ben Mee said he was embarrassed.

"I am ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to fly that around the stadium. It is not what we are about. They have missed what we are trying to achieve," he said.

"These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves. They don't represent what we are about, the club is about, the players are about and the majority of fans are about."

Police are not treating the incident as a crime, however Burnley believe they have identified the fans responsible and said they will be banned from the club for life.

The DUP have been approached for comment.

Belfast Telegraph