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Pep Guardiola: FA chief Martin Glenn may not understand meaning of yellow ribbon

MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola said he believes Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn may not understand the meaning behind the yellow ribbon he has worn in recent months.

Manchester City manager Guardiola has worn the symbol in support of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, two members of the Catalan government who were imprisoned in October.

Guardiola has accepted an FA charge of "wearing a political message" and said he will abide by rules saying he cannot wear it on the touchline, although he will continue to wear it pre and postmatch.

However, he questioned whether Glenn understood its meaning after the FA chief made comments about political and religious symbols for which he later apologised. Glenn was criticised for an "offensive" comment after highlighting the Star of David among symbols he said breached football rules banning religious and political imagery.

"Mr Glenn apologised, but my first impression when I heard that was he didn't understand exactly what the yellow ribbon means," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Basel.

"It was simple like that. He made a comment that was far away from what it means.

"Maybe now he will realise what it means. It's not about independence or no independence [for Catalonia]. It's about four people who are in jail when they didn't do absolutely anything to be in jail for.

"I think with his comments he didn't understand the reality of what happened right now with the situation, but I'm pretty sure now he will know it."

Asked whether he was disappointed by Glenn's remarks, Guardiola said: "Many times I speak for myself and after I say: 'Why did I say that?'

"I regret what I said sometimes. I am sure now that is not going to happen [again]."

Guardiola will wear the ribbon for the second leg against Basel at the Etihad Stadium because it does not breach UEFA rules.

He will not have it on show for Premier League games, although he stressed that did not mean he agreed with the FA's ruling.

"At the end there are rules, they have them and they apply them, I accept the decision because I have to do but that doesn't mean I agree or not or they are right or not," he added.

"I accept them, it doesn't mean I agree with the decision but I am here, I am working here and there are rules and I accept them.

"I said from the beginning that if the FA consider I shouldn't wear the yellow ribbon I would accept it, but the fact that I wear it or not doesn't mean anything because the yellow ribbon is always going to be there, whether you see it or not, even if I wear it in the press conference, postmatch, it doesn't matter.

"The situation doesn't change -- there are still people in prison in an unfair way."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.


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