Belfast Telegraph

Man City boss Guardiola unfazed by possibility of suspension over yellow ribbon

Pep Guardiola intends to continue wearing a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians.

The Manchester City manager has been sporting the symbol on his breast in public for the past month.

Guardiola explained his reasons for doing this in early November but it went largely unreported until it was commented upon by his Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho on Friday.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's derby between United and City, Mourinho suggested he would be punished if he made a political statement in such a way.

Asked about this issue again after the match, Guardiola said: "I do that because in Spain for 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, until 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."

Guardiola was specifically referring to politicians who were imprisoned for their involvement in the Catalonia independence referendum, which was declared illegal by Spain, in October.

Guardiola, 46, was born in Catalonia and is one of the region's highest-profile sportspeople, having played for and managed Barcelona.

His ribbon gesture has not breached any football regulations. After changing its rules this season, European governing body UEFA now bans only offensive messages from being displayed and that position is shared by the Football Association.

But Guardiola says his feelings are so strong on this issue that a punishment would not concern him.

"If they want to suspend me - UEFA, Premier League, FIFA - it's OK," he said.

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