When the FA announced they were going to charge City boss Pep Guardiola, you knew how it would end. The fact that Pep Guardiola doesn’t shy away from his support of his native Catalonia. The very next game after the charge was made public, Pep wore the ribbon.
Now facing a fine of £20,000 I am sure Pep will not lose too much sleep. After all, the City boss has been vocal over how meaningless his punishment is when compared to that of the imprisoned politicians.
Alongside the fine though, Pep has been warned over his future conduct. The FA’s kit and advertising regulations, which is what Pep was charged of breaching, doesn’t allow him to wear the ribbon pitch side.
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Will Guardiola now abandon the ribbon during games? That certainly would be what it would mean if the ex Barcelona boss was to not fall foul of the regulations going forward. He certainly would still be able to wear it during other occasions in his official role as Manchester City manager. Certainly he may still be seen wearing during pre and post match press conferences. But also UEFA has no such rule for the Champions League, and so he might still be seen pacing the touch-line with the ribbon.
The FA, UEFA and FIFA have really not been consistent with their fines in recent years. Remember Nicklas Bendtner who was fined £80,000 for flashing a sponsored waistband during a match. Meanwhile fines for clubs who are found guilty of racist chanting are fined a significant amount less.
The FA also threw themselves into the spotlight this week with ill-advised comments. The FA chief Executive, Martin Glenn compared the star of David to the Swastika.
"“But things that are going to be highly divisive, and that could be strong religious symbols, it could be the Star of David, it could be the hammer and sickle, it could be a swastika, anything like (Zimbabwe’s former president) Robert Mugabe on your shirt, these are the things we don’t want.”"
Of course he had to apologise for the comments with the Jewish community bringing him to task (amongst others). And our very own Pep wasn’t safe from Glenn’s criticism.
"“To be honest, and to be very clear, Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon is a political symbol, it’s a symbol of Catalan independence, and I can tell you there are many more Spaniards, non-Catalans, who are (expletive) off by it,”"
Since then reportedly, Glenn has apologised to Pep for the comments which Guardiola has accepted.