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Tuesday 10 December 2019

'You did Brexit' - Pep Guardiola vows to defy the FA and continue to wear yellow Catalan independence ribbon

Pep Guardiola won his first trophy as Man City boss as he lifted the Carabao Cup in February
Pep Guardiola won his first trophy as Man City boss as he lifted the Carabao Cup in February

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has vowed to keep wearing his yellow ribbon in support of politicians imprisoned in Catalonia following October's unofficial independence referendum.

Guardiola was charged by the Football Association on Friday for "wearing a political message" having been sporting the symbol at matches in recent months.

It was on display again at Sunday's Carabao Cup final and Guardiola spoke passionately on the issue after City's 3-0 win over Arsenal.

Guardiola has previously said the item shows his support for politicians imprisoned in his native Catalonia following October's unofficial independence referendum.

Guardiola is reported to have ignored warnings from the FA to remove the ribbon, with the governing body considering the matter a potential breach of kit and advertising regulations.

Those regulations prohibit players or club staff from displaying political messages, although they only refer to the field or the technical area.

Guardiola insisted he will accept punishment from the FA if they decide to hand him a fine, but he didn't seem ready to remove the ribbon that was hidden under his jacket for most of Sunday's Carabao Cup final.

"Before a manager, I am a human being," said the Catalan native. "You did Brexit. You allowed Scotland to have a referendum about if (they) want to stay or not. And, after, the people vote.

"I am a human being. It’s terrible for humanity. There is four guys in prison. There are other guys who are outside from Catalonia if they come back they’ll be in jail. For me they are accused of rebellion, sedition, for that you have to have weapons. We don’t have weapons, they don’t have weapons. The weapons we have is just the vote and the ballot.

"I think it’s not about politicians, it’s about democracy, it’s about helping the people who didn’t do anything, just to have maybe another opinion to the other one. Hopefully in the future, the state, not Spain, the state of Spain can help these guys to be out of jail. Maybe in the future we can be there. Anything can happen."

"I accept if I broke the rules I accept the fine, I accept the rap," he added. "It's not too disrespectful for anyone. It’s just to be part of something in humanity."

It remains to be seen what further punishment the FA might take if Guardiola persists in defying their rules, with a stadium ban a possibility if fines do not end his political protests.

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