Burnley have forcefully condemned a ‘White Lives Matter’ stunt that was carried out last night during the game against Manchester City.
Last night, in a match at the Etihad Stadium, a small plane trailing the words ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ flew directly over the pitch shortly after kick-off.
The European football equality body, Fare, has described the act as a wide part of ‘racist backlash’.
It comes after both teams wore ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of their shirts instead of their names, which has been customary since the Premier League returned amidst the recent anti-racism protests.
Just moments before the plane flew over, all 22 players took to the knee to honour the Black Lives Matter movement.
Burnley, quick to respond, issued a statement at half time which 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,
“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.”
Fare further explained that the event is the latest in a series of distasteful acts across the continent.
“The racist backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement across Europe is a trend we have seen and documented,” Fare’s executive director Piara Powar told the PA news agency.
“Set against the BLM message of equal rights, ‘White Lives Matter’ can only be motivated by racism and a denial of equal rights. It shows exactly why the fight for equality is so important and why the majority of people have supported it.
“At this stage we don’t know who is behind this, but it’s clear they don’t see the relevance of the message to football or the impact that racism has on so many people’s lives. So be it. The movement, the issues that are being discussed and the change that will arise is unstoppable. History will judge that this was a moment that led to change.”
Burnley captain, Ben Mee, said he was ‘ashamed and embarrassed’ about the incident and that the players on the field were sickened by what they saw above their heads.
“It completely misses the point of what we’re trying to achieve as a football community,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.
“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 had 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.”
English football’s anti-racism charity, Kick It Out, explained that the sentiments of the banner represented a grave misunderstanding of the BLM initiative.
“The point of Black Lives Matter is not to diminish the importance of other people’s lives,” said the organisation’s chair Sanjay Bhandari.
“It is to highlight that black people are being denied certain human rights simply by virtue of the colour of their skin. It is about equality. We shall continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for greater equality for all in football.”
The rules for Christmas have been announced, and three households will be able to meet indoors over the festive period. Three different households will be able to form a ‘bubble’ for Christmas, between December 23rd and December 27th. The Christmas rules will apply across the whole of the UK, Sky News reports.
It comes after the devolved administrations and UK government spent this week in meetings to work out a plan for Christmas, with an agreement happening on Tuesday afternoon. The bubbles will only be able to meet in a private home, place of worship or outdoors, and won’t be able to go to a pub, restaurant or bar.
According to the rules, once a bubble is formed you can’t change it. The lifting of certain rules will also see travel restrictions lifted across the UK over the five-day Christmas period, meaning people can travel anywhere in the country to meet their bubble.
Michael Gove chaired the meeting. He said: “For five days, from December 23rd to 27th, people will be allowed to have a Christmas bubble.
“That means that three households can get together so families can enjoy something closer to a normal Christmas.
“We all know that Christmas this year won’t be as it has been in years’ past, but all the governments agreed we should balance the need to protect public health with also allowing people to be with their loved ones.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have to recognise that Christmas is a very important time for people, and that you have to have a set of rules that people will be prepared to operate within.” He added: “While I have hesitation, because of the state of the virus in Wales and across the United Kingdom, it is better that we have a common set of arrangements that give people a framework that they can manage within and act responsibly within as well.”
Downing Street has said Boris Johnson believes MP should not receive an annual pay rise.
Next year, MPs are expected to receive a pay rise of £3,360 on top of their £81,932 annual salary, causing anger among the public as it comes at a time when ordinary people are struggling.
However, a Downing Street spokesperson has said that Mr Johnson has already frozen ministerial pay as he does not believe MPs should get a pay rise.
The spokesperson said: “MP’s salaries are obviously decided by an independent body but given the circumstances, the PM doesn’t believe MPs should be receiving a pay rise”.
On top of their annual salary, MPs are also able to claim allowances to cover the cost of running an office, employing staff and maintaining a constituency residence or residence in London.
News of the potential pay rise has caused outrage after thousands have lost their jobs in the pandemic. The exact amount of the pay rise is yet to be confirmed.
The PM’s statement comes following an awkward interview between Matt Hancock and Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan.
Piers said he would ‘love’ to hear the Health Secretary refuse a pay rise in the struggling economy.
Hancock said: “That’s what all ministers did in the pay freeze that there was after the global financial crash – me included.
“Let’s see what the final recommendation is and then I’ll come… I know, I’ll promise to commit to coming back on this programme immediately after that decision comes through and then I’ll let you know. I will answer this question when the pay policy has been set out by the chancellor.”
Piers interrupted and said: “I’m just asking you to say you are not personally going to take a penny.
“Just say I, Matt Hancock, right now tell Good Morning Britain viewers that in all good conscience it would be wrong of me to take a penny in a pay rise this year. And I am going to put my hand up and lead.”
Hancock, who is believed to be paid an annual salary in the region of £140,000, said: “It’s very tempting, it’s very tempting Piers. I am a stickler for not pre-judging things. You can’t knock me off the perch.”
Piers responded: “You’re not a parrot, you’re the Health Secretary in the year of the catastrophic handling of the pandemic.”
As before, some businesses will be forced to close in regions which are put into Tier 3.
The new, tougher tier system will come into play next week when the national lockdown ends on December 2nd.
The country is set to find out which tier their region is in on Thursday, and while Greater Manchester’s infection rates are falling, there’s a chance we might be placed back into Tier 3 initially.
The Prime Minister announced on Monday: “So we’re not going to replace national measures with a free for all, the status quo anti-Covid, we’re going to go back instead to a regional tiered approach – applying the toughest measures where Covid is most prevalent.
“And while the previous local tiers did cut the ‘R’ number, they were not quite enough to reduce it below one.
“So the scientific advice, I’m afraid, is that as we come out our tiers need to be made tougher.”
In Tier 3, hospitality venues such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants must remain closed.
They can continue business if they can offer sales via takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
Hotels, B&Bs, campsites guest houses and other forms of accommodation must also shut. They can only remain open for one of a few exemptions such as if it provides main residence for some people or it is used for reasonably necessary work or education and training.
Indoor entertainment venues must close. This includes:
Indoor play centres and areas, including trampoline parks and soft play
Amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
Laser quests and escape rooms
Cinemas, theatres and concert halls
Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor environments must also close.
Zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves
Aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions
Museums, galleries and sculpture parks
Botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses
Theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs
Visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes
Landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms
Leisure and sports facilities – such as gyms – may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms must also stay closed.