06 Mar Guardiola accuses FA chief exec Martin Glenn of missing point of yellow ribbon
Pep Guardiola has accused Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn of failing to understand the significance of his controversial yellow ribbon.
The Manchester City manager has accepted an FA charge of “wearing a political message” on the touchline during matches having worn the symbol on his clothing in recent months.
Speaking over the weekend Glenn said the governing body believes that the ribbon represents Catalan independence.
Guardiola has argued that is not the case, and that it is a gesture in support of politicians imprisoned after October’s independence referendum in Catalonia, which was declared illegal by Spain.
Glenn’s remarks attracted further controversy because he bracketed the yellow ribbon together with the Star of David, a swastika and Robert Mugabe.
Catalonia-born Guardiola, a former Barcelona manager and captain, feels this shows Glenn is out of touch with the situation.
Speaking at a press conference to preview City’s Champions League clash with Basel on Wednesday, Guardiola said: “Mr Glenn has apologised, so OK. But the first impression (I got) when I heard that is he didn’t understand what the yellow ribbon means. It is simple like that. He made a comment that is far away from what it means. Maybe now he will realise what it means.
“It is not about independence or not independence. It is about four people who are in jail when they didn’t do anything to be in jail.
“The people who both want independence, or no independence, the right side and the left side, are in favour of it (the ribbon). It is simple. I think now he will understand. He didn’t understand the reality of the situation.”
Asked further if he thinks Glenn should think before he speaks, Guardiola said: “Many times I speak and after that I say, ‘Why did I say that?’ I regret what I said.”
Guardiola faces a fine but while he has made clear he will accept the FA charge, because it is a breach of the regulations, he does not agree with it and will not be apologising.
He will cover up the ribbon during domestic matches but will continue, as is permitted, to display it during pre- and post-match media commitments. He also intends to wear it on the touchline on Wednesday as it is not a breach of UEFA’s regulations.
Guardiola said: “I accept the decision because I have to do but that doesn’t mean I agree or not, or they are right or not. I am here, I am working here and there are rules and I accept them.
“I said from the beginning if the FA considers I shouldn’t wear the yellow ribbon I would accept it but the fact that I wear it or not doesn’t mean anything, because the yellow ribbon is always going to be there, whether you see it or not, even if I wear it in the press conference, post-match, it doesn’t matter, the situation doesn’t change, there are still people in prison in an unfair way.”