Defiant Pep bows to FA rules

AFP
MANCHESTER City manager Pep Guardiola insisted he will live by the English Football Association's rules even if he doesn't agree with an FA charge for wearing a yellow ribbon.
AFP
Reuters

Midfielder Nemanja Matic scores Manchester United’s third goal against Crystal Palace in injury time during their English Premier League match at Selhurst Park in south London on Monday. United rallied from 0-2 down to win 3-2 to climb back to second in the league table but is still 16 points behind runaway leader Manchester City. Palace stayed in the relegation zone. 

MANCHESTER City manager Pep Guardiola insisted he will live by the English Football Association’s 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 told media yesterday ahead of City’s UEFA Champions League clash with Basel once again wearing the yellow ribbon.

Guardiola will still be free to wear the ribbon in UCL games as UEFA has 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 apologized 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 it symbolizes,” added Guardiola.

“Maybe now he will realize 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 reports, his private plane was even searched at Barcelona’s El Prat airport two weeks ago by police looking for exiled Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

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