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Burnley promise life bans for racist banner, reaffirm BLM support

Burnley have promised life bans for those responsible for the far-right banner flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday night. 

In a joint-statement from chairman Mike Garlick and CEO Neil Hart the Premier League club have reaffirmed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Earlier on Tuesday afternoon Lancashire Police confirmed they were investigating a 'white lives matter Burnley' banner being flown ahead of Manchester City's meeting with Burnley.

Speaking after the game, Burnley captain Ben Mee said he was "embarrassed" by the incident, adding, "It does not represent what the club is about, what the players are about and what the a majority of the fans are about, that's for sure.

"It's a small minority of people and I'm really upset that happened."

It's a sentiment echoed in Burnley's new statement, which spotlights the work they've done in the community to combat discrimination.

Black Lives Matter movement aims to overcome years of racial inequality against the BAME community

"As custodians of the club, they say, "We stand firmly behind the statement condemning the message flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday night and are fully in support of the words of club captain Ben Mee, delivered after the match.

"Black Lives Matter is a movement supported by all players in the Premier League and the league itself.

"While we naturally consider that all lives matter, let us be clear that the Black Lives Matter movement aims to overcome years of racial inequality against the BAME community and promote a greater fairness for all."

Garlick and Hart say they're "prevailing mantra" at Burnley is "One Club For All".

They add, "The club operates a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any form at Turf Moor and is increasingly issuing lifetime bans for supporters that incite racism and hatred.

"This punishment will also be meted out to those responsible for Monday’s regrettable incident."

Full statement:

Burnley Football Club is opposed to any form of racism and discrimination of any kind.

As custodians of the club, we stand firmly behind the statement condemning the message flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday night and are fully in support of the words of club captain Ben Mee, delivered after the match.

Black Lives Matter is a movement supported by all players in the Premier League and the league itself.

While we naturally consider that all lives matter, let us be clear that the Black Lives Matter movement aims to overcome years of racial inequality against the BAME community and promote a greater fairness for all.

We at Burnley therefore stand firmly behind it and oppose anything that may appear to undermine or challenge such a positive message.

At Turf Moor, our overarching and prevailing club mantra is that Burnley FC is ‘One Club for All’.

It is an ethos supported by the manager, players, board of directors and all staff and a message that feeds into activities across the football club and our partners Burnley FC in the Community, whose activities currently reach 33,000 participants, over 19 per cent of whom are from a BAME background.

The club operates a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any form at Turf Moor and is increasingly issuing lifetime bans for supporters that incite racism and hatred.

This punishment will also be meted out to those responsible for Monday’s regrettable incident.

On matchdays, we operate a dedicated text service whereby fans can report any discriminatory incidents they experience, or offensive language they hear, in real time. This service is publicised around the stadium, in the programme and on the big screen.

In addition, we stage themed matchdays, including Diversity Day and in support of Rainbow Laces campaign, to celebrate the diversity of our fanbase, which we are looking to further increase through an Inclusion Advisory Group established in 2018, which meets on a quarterly basis.

As a club, we listen and act upon the views of the group which represents all parts of our community.

Elsewhere, Burnley FC in the Community is working with a number of local organisations, including Building Bridges Burnley, to develop further links with the BAME community.

The club has excellent relationships with Lancashire Police in working to eradicate any form of racial discrimination and has also instigated a staff training programme being developed to assist club and community staff in dealing with hate crimes they encounter at the stadium.

Burnley FC in the Community opened the Leisure Box community facility in 2019 in Brierfield, an area which has 42% BAME population, to further embed the club into the local area and offer the BAME community direct access to the work of Burnley FC and Burnley FC in the Community.

Since opening, almost 4,000 members of the BAME community have become regular users of The Leisure Box, which accounts for almost 20% of all visits.

The Premier League Kicks programme - which offers free football and multi-sports activities to young people – provided at the Leisure Box attracts 40% of participants from the BAME community.

Finally, Burnley FC in the Community also delivers a project called Clarets Welcome, which offers weekly football sessions for men from 20 Syrian refugee families that have settled in Burnley.

The sessions, which have been actively supported by members of the Clarets’ first-team squad, offer the chance to take part in physical exercise and to build new networks in the area.

Together, we will not stand for anything that threatens to undermine the good work we are doing, and reiterate that we will take the strongest action against those who seek to threaten that.

Mike Garlick, Chairman, Burnley Football Club

Neil Hart: CEO, Burnley Football Club

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