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Guardiola charged by FA for Catalan independence ribbon



  • FA statement said yellow ribbon was in breach of kit and advertising regulations
  • Pep Guardiola has previously said he wore it in support of imprisoned politicians
  • Guardiola said they had been imprisoned simply for offering an opinion
  • The Catalan was twice warned by the FA for ribbon before being charged
  • Guardiola still wore the ribbon during Friday's pre-match press conference
  • BETTING GUIDE: Carabao Cup final odds as Arsenal face Manchester City 

By Amitai Winehouse For Mailonline

Published: 11:11 EST, 23 February 2018 | Updated: 16:05 EST, 23 February 2018

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been charged by the Football Association for 'wearing a political message, specifically a yellow ribbon'.

The FA said the yellow ribbon worn by the former Barcelona boss on his jacket in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians was in breach of its kit and advertising regulations.

Guardiola, whose side face Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, has until 6pm on Monday to respond to the charge. He wore the ribbon during Friday's pre-Carabao Cup final press conference.

Pep Guardiola wore the ribbon during his pre-Carabao Cup final press conference on Friday

Guardiola has been charged for wearing the yellow ribbon in support of Catalan independence
Guardiola has been charged for wearing the yellow ribbon in support of Catalan independence

Guardiola has been charged for wearing the yellow ribbon in support of Catalan independence

Guardiola has worn the ribbon in support of the imprisoned politicians Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez. They were incarcerated during the row over Catalan independence.

It is understood that Guardiola was twice warned by the FA over wearing the yellow ribbon before being charged for wearing it during the game against Wigan.

It also emerged on Friday that Guardiola was subjected to a bizarre spot-check when he arrived at Barcelona airport last week, as Spanish police searched his private plane to see if he was smuggling leading Catalan politician, Carles Puigdemont, into the country.


Guardiola's plane landed at Barcelona-El Prat airport and after its passengers had disembarked, with the Manchester City manager still on-board, several members of the Guardia Civil police boarded to search the plane. They left shortly after without saying anything to Guardiola.

Back in the terminal Guardiola was told the police had been looking for Puigdemont who is currently believed to be in exile in Belgium.

Puigdemont served as president of Catalonia up until October 2017 when he led a referendum on Catalan independence from Spain that was declared illegal. He declared unilateral independence after the vote, and the Spanish government responded by imposing direct rule, dismissing Puigdemont, and calling new regional elections.  

Guardiola appearing at a demonstration for Catalan independence in June 2017
Guardiola appearing at a demonstration for Catalan independence in June 2017

Guardiola appearing at a demonstration for Catalan independence in June 2017

His plane was searched by Spanish police looking for ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont
His plane was searched by Spanish police looking for ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont

His plane was searched by Spanish police looking for ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont

Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia say police sources confirmed to them that the plane search was 'purely routine' and that they were not aware members of Guardiola's family were aboard. 

Guardiola was born in central Catalonia and has a long association with the region, having both played and managed Catalan club Barcelona. 

Speaking in December, he said: 'I do that because in Spain two specific people who defend something like the vote, something the people in command do not agree (with), are in prison. It's unfair.

Guardiola has previously said he does not mind being suspended for wearing the symbol
Guardiola has previously said he does not mind being suspended for wearing the symbol

Guardiola has previously said he does not mind being suspended for wearing the symbol

'To make a rebellion on something like that, you have to be something tough to be in prison. And they are still there. So, while they are not out, always here (points to ribbon) will be shared with me.

'Because, okay, they can suspend me for doing that, but the other people are in jail.

'If they want to suspend me — UEFA, Premier League, FIFA — it's okay.' 

While political messages have been banned for a number of years around football games — which was the cause of the annual poppy controversy with FIFA — UEFA changed their rules this season to only ban offensive messages.

Guardiola had been warned twice by the FA for wearing the ribbon before being charged
Guardiola had been warned twice by the FA for wearing the ribbon before being charged

Guardiola had been warned twice by the FA for wearing the ribbon before being charged

The FA did not change their own policy, as they did not consider the poppy to be a political symbol. 

The City boss was criticised by his rival Jose Mourinho for being allowed to wear the ribbon prior to the club's game against Manchester United.

'I've known Pep for many years,' he said. 'I think I know what Pep feels about his country. To have it in football, I don't know the rules.

'If the rules allow us to do that, he is a free citizen to do it, but I am not sure if the rules allow any political message on the pitch. That's just my doubt. I think I wouldn't be allowed to, that's just what I think.'

WHY DOES PEP GUARDIOLA WEAR THE YELLOW RIBBON?

Why has he worn it?

Pep Guardiola has been wearing the yellow ribbon since at least November in support of two Catalan politicans who were imprisoned during the fall-out from the furore over the independence vote.

Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez remain incarcerated. Spain's state prosecutor wants to punish the duo for allowing the vote.

Why a yellow ribbon?

The ribbon has been adopted by people in Catalonia as a symbol for independence.

It has been worn since late October last year by proponents of the cause and, in particular, to support the two imprisoned secessionist leaders.

The yellow ribbon has also been used more broadly to include the eight ministers arrested and held without bail, and the likes of Carles Puigdemont, who have had to flee Catalonia.

Pep Guardiola wearing the yellow ribbon while on the bench in January this year
Pep Guardiola wearing the yellow ribbon while on the bench in January this year

Pep Guardiola wearing the yellow ribbon while on the bench in January this year

Why has he been charged?

While political messages have been banned for a number of years around football games — which was the cause of the annual poppy controversy with FIFA — UEFA changed their rules this season to only ban offensive messages.

The FA did not change their own policy, as they did not consider the poppy to be a political symbol. 

What are his views? 

Speaking in December, he said: 'I do that because in Spain two specific people who defend something like the vote, something the people in command do 

Speaking in December, he said: 'I do that because in Spain two specific people who defend something like the vote, something the people in command do not agree (with), are in prison. It's unfair.   

'To make a rebellion on something like that, you have to be something tough to be in prison. And they are still there. So, while they are not out, always here (points to ribbon) will be shared with me.

'Because, okay, they can suspend me for doing that, but the other people are in jail.

'If they want to suspend me — UEFA, Premier League, FIFA — it's okay.' 

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