ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has been fined by the English Football Association and faces further sanctions for continuing to wear a yellow ribbon during matches in support of Catalonia’s independence referendum last year.
Guardiola, who is currently in charge of English Premier League leaders Manchester City, said he would continue to wear the ribbon in support of two Catalan separatist leaders who have been imprisoned.
Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, two members of the Catalan government, were imprisoned in October following Catalonia’s independence referendum from Spain.
“All the politicians that are in prison, I hope they can leave and go back home soon with their families and continue living the lives they deserve,” Guardiola said in November. “Hopefully sooner or later I can stop wearing it.”
The English FA had been in talks with Manchester City since December regarding the manager’s wearing of the yellow ribbon, warning him twice before charging him on Friday after he wore it during a match earlier in the week.
The FA noted that the ribbon represents “a political message” which is in breach of the English governing body’s kit regulations, ESPN reported.
Guardiola continued to defy the warnings as he donned the ribbon again during Manchester City’s 3-0 Carabao Cup Final victory over Arsenal on Sunday.
“Before a manager, I am a human being,” the Spaniard told reporters after the game. “It’s not about politicians; it’s about democracy; it’s about helping the people who didn’t do absolutely anything.”
Guardiola also highlighted the recent Brexit in England and the Scottish independence referendum and said Catalonia had the right to seek a similar peaceful process.
He has until March 5 to respond to the initial charge, but now faces further sanctions for his defiance and could receive a potential touchline ban.