Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted he will live by the English Football Association’s (FA) rules even if he doesn’t agree with an FA charge for wearing a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned pro-independence campaigners in his native Catalonia.
On Monday, Guardiola admitted the FA charge of wearing a political symbol, which he has sported since a number of Catalan politicians and civil society leaders were remanded in custody in October.
“They are the rules, they have them and they apply them so I accept the decision because I have to,” Guardiola said on Tuesday as he addressed the media ahead of City’s Champions League clash with Basel once again wearing the yellow ribbon.
Guardiola will still be free to wear the ribbon in Champions League games as UEFA have a different set of rules to the FA.
“I am in this country working and under the rules, but that doesn’t mean that I agree whether they are right or wrong,” added Guardiola.
“Many times in history after some time we see that decisions taken were not just.”
Guardiola also rebuked FA chief executive Martin Glenn for failing to understand the significance of the yellow ribbon.
Glenn publicly apologised for controversial comments comparing the Jewish Star of David with symbols such as the Nazi swastika as the FA’s reasoning for banning political symbols worn by players or coaches.
However, he also claimed the yellow ribbon was “a symbol of Catalan independence”, which Guardiola strongly denied.
“The first impression when I hear that is because he doesn’t understand what that means the yellow ribbon, what is symbolises,” added Guardiola.
“Maybe now he will realise what it means. It’s not about independence or not independence, it is not about that.
“It is about the four people or more people that are in jail and they didn’t do absolutely anything.”
The former Barcelona manager has been a long-standing campaigner for Catalonia to be handed a referendum on the issue of independence.
His high-profile stance has become a major talking point and, according to Spanish media reports, the City manager’s private plane was even searched at Barcelona’s El Prat airport two weeks ago by police looking for exiled Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.