Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been fined £20,000 by the Football Association (FA) and warned over his future conduct after wearing a yellow ribbon supporting political prisoners in his native Catalonia.
On Monday, Guardiola accepted the FA charge of “wearing a political message”, putting him in breach of the organisation’s kit and advertising regulations.
The City boss began wearing the pin in support of pro-independence politicians Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, who were imprisoned as part of the crackdown that followed last October’s referendum in Catalonia and remain in custody.
A brief statement issued by the FA read: “Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct after admitting an FA charge for wearing a political message, specifically a yellow ribbon, in breach of The FA’s kit and advertising regulations.”
Guardiola, who wore the ribbon as he fulfilled pre-match media duties for the Premier League leaders’ forthcoming trip to Stoke City, has argued his symbol is addressing a humanitarian and not a political issue despite accepting the charge.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn sparked controversy last weekend when, in response to this stance, he made remarks including a reference to the Star of David that the UK’s Jewish Leadership Council labelled “offensive” and “ill-judged”.
Speaking in response to Glenn’s comments, Guardiola again stated he had been misunderstood.
“Mr Glenn has apologised, so all is well, but the first impression when I heard that was he does not understand what the yellow ribbon means,” he said.
“He made comments that are far away from that. Maybe now he will realise it is not the same.
“It is not about independence or no independence. It is about people who are in jail when they didn’t do absolutely anything to be in jail.
“I think now he is going to understand… the comments were because he did not understand the reality. But now I am pretty sure he will.”
After his initial charge form the FA, Guardiola offered assurances he would not risk further sanctions, such as a touchline ban, by continuing to wear the ribbon in defiance of the authorities.
“It is more important what happens in the team than what is, in this case, my personal opinion, of course,” he said.
“Of course, I don’t want to damage my team. I don’t what to damage my club, not at all.”