LONDON – Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola confirmed on Tuesday that he is planning to wear a yellow ribbon during the second leg of the team’s Champions League round-of-16 faceoff against Basel.
The English Football Association has launched proceedings against Guardiola for wearing a yellow ribbon in support of Catalan independence, since the FA prohibits any display of political symbols.
“The FA have rules. They apply them, I accept them. I have to. That doesn’t mean I have to agree,” Pep said at the press conference before the match against Basel, which his team is set to go up against having won the first-leg contest 4-0.
Contrary to the FA, UEFA does not forbid the display of political symbols, so the coach will be free to wear the ribbon.
“I’m in this country working and I’m in the middle of the rules. That doesn’t mean I agree or not, it doesn’t mean they are right or wrong. I said from the beginning that if the FA felt I shouldn’t wear the ribbon I would accept it, but the fact of whether I wear it or not doesn’t mean anything,” Guardiola told the British media.
The yellow ribbon symbolizes solidarity with the Catalonian politicians who were imprisoned for their involvement in holding the independence referendum in the northeastern autonomous Spanish region. According to Pep, the ribbon will always be with him whether he can display it or not.
Asked about Wednesday’s game, Guardiola warned his players not to be so sure about qualifying for the quarterfinals because of the first-leg result.
“The Champions League is different. In the Champions League, if Fabian Delph gets a red card like he did against Wigan, you don’t win. Sometimes it’s not about how you play. It’s a different situation,” he explained.
“Tomorrow we have a chance to reach the quarterfinals for the second time in our history and that is so important. It’s enough for us to be focused,” he added.