February 26 – In picking up his first trophy as manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola was conspicuous for defiantly continuing to wear a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians despite being previously charged by English football authorities for what is regarded as a rule-breaking political statement.
City’s 3-0 win over Arsenal in the League Cup final on Sunday seems virtually certain to be followed by the Premier League title in May with Guardiola’s club currently 13 points clear, with a game in hand.
They are also in contention to win the Champions League but Guardiola faces fresh sanction after wearing the ribbon at Wembley – most likely a touchline ban.
“They [the FA] know I will wear it always. I can wear it somewhere else. UEFA have another opinion. They say you can wear it as long as it’s with respect. Here [in England] it’s different apparently,” he said afterwards.
“I have empathy for the people who have no freedom, those guys in Spain who are in jail. They haven’t been proven guilty. Anyone can be in that situation. Before I am a football manager I am a human being. They don’t have weapons, just the vote, the ballot. It’s not about politicians, it’s about democracy; it’s about helping the people who didn’t do anything.”
“I will accept whatever they [the FA] decide about my behaviour. It’s not a lack of respect, it’s being part of humanity.”
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