FA charges Pep Guardiola over Catalonia political symbol


London (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was Friday charged by the Football Association over his wearing of a yellow ribbon in support of jailed Catalan independence leaders.

The FA said in a statement that the symbol worn by the former Barcelona boss on his jacket was in breach of its kit and advertising regulations.

Guardiola, whose side face Arsenal in the League Cup final on Sunday, has until March 5 to respond to the charge.

“Pep Guardiola has been charged for wearing a political message, specifically a yellow ribbon, in breach of the FA’s kit and advertising regulations,” the FA statement said.

“He has until 6:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Monday 5 March 2018 to respond to the charge.”

Following events last year surrounding Catalonia’s bid to break away from Spain, which included a referendum and a proclamation of independence, both deemed illegal, authorities jailed several leaders of the movement.

The City manager, who was born in Catalonia, has previously explained his reasons for wearing the ribbon.

Referring to the first two independence leaders to be jailed, he said in December: “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, OK, 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 OK.”

The City boss explained his stance in response to comments from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who questioned whether the ribbon was within the rules and claimed he would not be allowed to do a similar thing.

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