Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he will continue to wear a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians because he is “a human being before a manager”.
Four Catalan leaders are in prison for rebellion and sedition following October’s referendum on independence for the region, which was ruled illegal by Spain.
Guardiola, the former Barcelona captain and coach and a Catalan native, was this week charged by the Football Association with “wearing a political message” but nevertheless wore the ribbon again at Wembley for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
Guardiola spoke at length on the subject after City’s 3-0 win over Arsenal and said: “If I broke the rules, I accept the fine. I am a human being.
“There are four guys in prison. There are other guys, who are outside of Catalonia; when they come back, they are going to be jailed, imprisoned for rebellion and sedition.
“It’s not about politicians, it’s about democracy; it’s about helping the people who didn’t do absolutely anything.”
Guardiola referenced both Brexit and the Scottish independence referendum and stressed Catalonia was merely seeking a similar peaceful process.
“They don’t have weapons,” he said. “The weapons that we have is just the vote, the ballot.
“You did Brexit. You allowed Scotland to have a referendum about if (they) want to stay (in the United Kingdom) or not.
“And, after, the people vote. That is what they ask and they are in jail right now.”
Guardiola faces a potential fine for breaching the FA’s “kit and advertising regulations” but has vowed to continue his show of support, even if it eventually leads to a touchline ban.
“Before a manager, I am a human being,” he said. I will accept if the FA decide about my behaviour. It’s just to be part of something for humanity. That’s why I appreciate from Manchester City fans the support.
“They (the FA) know that I’ll wear the yellow ribbon always. I can wear it somewhere else, not just on my chest. They know I’ll wear it.
“UEFA has another opinion regarding these issues. They say you can wear anything as long as you show it with respect. Here, apparently, it’s different.”