Guardiola would stop wearing yellow ribbon if asked by City
Manager says he will write to FA on issue but will focus on League tie against Arsenal
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wearing a yellow ribbon in support of two imprisoned Catalan politicians. Photograph: Getty Images
Pep Guardiola would stop wearing a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned Catalans if Manchester City’s executive believed it was affecting the team and asked him to, or if he felt the same way independent of the hierarchy.
Guardiola has until Monday to answer a Football Association charge of “wearing a political message” after he wore the ribbon on the touchline during City’s FA Cup defeat at Wigan Athletic on February.
The ribbon was also visible during Sunday’s English League Cup win over Arsenal at Wembley, meaning he could be charged again. There is also the prospect of another breach of the rule if he decides to wear the ribbon for City’s Premier League trip to Arsenal on Thursday night.
Guardiola now says he will consider stopping wearing the ribbon. “Yeah, of course. It’s more important what is happening with the team and the club than my personal opinion,” he said. “I think it’s not going to happen but if they ask that, I am going to accept that. They are the bosses.
“The club is more important than my personal opinion. But my personal opinion is not a political opinion. When men and women put on a red [pink] ribbon it’s because of the support for the breast cancer initiative.
“The same as when I wear the prostate cancer badge. The idea is the same, there are a lot of ribbons, I’m pretty sure there are people all around the world in Spain and Catalonia who do not want to be independent, but they are not agreeing with putting people in jail.”
Guardiola would also stop if City’s form was affected. “Of course, I don’t want to damage my team or club,” the 47-year-old said. “Maybe, if at the end we decide [enough publicity] but it’s not for the right or left [politically].”
Guardiola may argue the rule was unwittingly broken by him accidentally revealing the ribbon during the second half at Wigan.
The ribbon was concealed before the break under a jacket and became visible later as the jacket was unzipped towards the top.
Guardiola’s side are 13 points ahead of Manchester United, and have a game in hand. The 46-year-old described the league championship as his prime focus.
“We are fighting for the most important title of the season by far, the Premier League, more than Champions League, more important than the FA Cup, Carabao Cup. That is enough encouragement to be focused. The next six fixtures are terrible in terms of quality of the opponents, and we have four games away and we still have to win six games.
“When you think about Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal and our away games, Stoke City playing for relegation, going to Goodison Park [Everton] is always a tough game. We have a lot of tough games still to play, and have to remain focused.
“Raheem [Sterling] is much better, I don’t know if able to play [against Arsenal] but hopefully Chelsea or Basel. Fernandinho is out tomorrow [Thursday],” said Guardiola. Each player has a hamstring problem.
Arsenal were heavily criticised after their lacklustre showing at Wembley, where they were outplayed and lost 3-0 to City. Guardiola claims that will have little bearing on Thursday’s encounter. “Arsenal is always a hard game, and when they play they are a tough, tough, tough team at the Emirates.”