Pep Guardiola accepts FA charge for wearing yellow ribbon

The Man City manager wore symbol of solidarity with jailed Catalan leaders but football association states it is breach of regulations

Pep Guardiola at Man City vs Basel in February (by Reuters)
Pep Guardiola at Man City vs Basel in February (by Reuters) / ACN

ACN | Manchester

March 6, 2018 12:59 PM

The Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, has accepted the UK’s Football Association charge against him of “wearing a political message.” At recent games, he had been supporting a yellow ribbon, a sign of solidarity with jailed Catalan leaders. He had until 6pm on Monday to respond to the FA's charges. He now faces the possibility of a fine once a hearing on the matter has been arranged. 

Sources close to the former Barça player, currently residing in England, stated that Guardiola will respect the laws of the country in which he is working. However, he will continue to wear the yellow ribbon before and after matches, as permitted. He is free to wear it at news conferences and media events, but not during games.

The charge against him is specifically related to Man City’s defeat against Wigan Athletic Club on February 19, where he was seen wearing the symbol of solidarity on the sideline. The sources stated that City thinks the FA’s stance has inconsistencies, and is different from the position taken by UEFA, which allows the wearing of the yellow ribbon.


Guardiola has long been an outspoken supporter of the independence movement in Catalonia, and has consistently worn the yellow ribbon at games. The charges were triggered when he wore the ribbon during Monday’s match against Wigan. Since the FA first spoke to Guardiola about the matter in December, the Catalan coach has ignored two formal warnings.

When the matter was first brought up with the coach at the end of last year, Guardiola was defiant, saying: "If they want to suspend me - Uefa, Premier League, Fifa. It's OK". Guardiola now has until March 5 to appeal the charge, although reports in the English media suggest that it is unlikely he will receive any punishment for the infraction.

What’s more, while Uefa regulations allow European football’s governing body to punish the provocative use of "gestures, words or objects" of a "political, ideological or religious" nature, it has been reluctant to get involved with issues relating to Catalonia’s independence movement. For example, Uefa preferred to compromise with Barcelona football club over allowing independence flags in the Camp Nou stadium rather than hand out a punishment.