“They had fallen to their knees. The players and the referee on the pitch, the supervisors, coaches and officials outside on the edge of the pitch. They all did so on Monday night at Manchester City’s stadium to demonstrate their support in the fight against racism. It was a poignant moment, as it has been in many football stadiums throughout Europe in recent weeks, including in this country, before the kick-off. In Manchester, the silent protest was followed by an outcry.
The game between the hosts, managed by Pep Guardiola, and Burnley FC had just whistled when it suddenly became loud. A small plane flew over the arena with a banner that read: “White Lives Matter – Burnley” – “White lives count – Burnley.” A shamefully racist action in days when hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been protesting racism since the violent death of black American George Floyd after police violence – under the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” The slogan also stands on the jerseys of all Premier League teams and replaces the player names.
Police are investigating the incident
“I am ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to show something like this around the stadium,” said Burnley captain Benjamin Mee. The responsible followers, Bee says, “should arrive and form in the 21st century. I hope it doesn’t happen again.’
Burnley FC had already condemned the action via Twitter during the match. “We would like to make it clear that those in charge at Turf Moor (Burnley Stadium, the editorial team) are not welcome. This is in no way what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will be working fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans.”
According to English media reports, the person responsible for the scandalous banner was apparently quickly identified. It is said to be a well-known neo-Nazi who deleted his social media channels during the game. Lancashire Police said: “We are investigating to establish the full circumstances of this incident. We understand that this banner has angered many people in Lancashire and elsewhere and we continue to work closely with our partners at the club and local authorities.”
Pep Guardiola looked very touched after the game, which City won 5-0. 400 years of racist injustice cannot be overcome by society within a week, the ManCity team manager said, but the situation will be changed.
“We have to fight every day and condemn the bad things,” Guardiola said. White lives, of course, would play a role, the coach added, “but black lives also play a role. People are important, every human being. We are all the same. I travel a lot around the world, I’ve lived in many countries – and each of us is one of us. We are equal. We are absolutely the same. We have the same fears, the same joy, the same good things, the same bad things. It will not be any other for a skin color in one place or another. The lives of white people matter, as do black people.”
The Manchester racism scandal eclipsed the game – and so did the comeback of Leroy Sané, who was used for the first time on Monday after his injury break due to a cruciate ligament tear. “Finally – I missed it a lot,” the German international wrote on Instagram after the match under a photo showing him on the pitch. The 24-year-old had come into the game in the 79th minute.
Sané had been injured in August last year just before the start of the current Premier League season. He had subsequently undergone surgery in Austria. Now he is fit again and obviously on the move to a new club. Coach Guardiola confirmed last Friday that Sané had rejected a new contract offer – his contract runs until 2021 – and wanted to leave the club. Speculation has been rife for weeks about Sané’s possible move to Bayern Munich. Asked about a transfer from Sané, Oliver Kahn, the new munich-based executive director, had said in ZDF’s “Current Sports Studio”: “We talk about transfers when they have taken place. .”
With the victory of Sané’s current employer, it is clear that Liverpool FC and their manager Jurgen Klopp will have to wait for the champions to celebrate , even if The Klopp-Elf wins against Crystal Palace on Wednesday. The 20-point lead with eight games remaining is not enough for the first championship win in 30 years.
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