LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola defiantly wore a yellow ribbon on his suit in support of jailed pro-independence Catalan politicians during his side’s 3-0 League Cup final victory over Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
The 47-year-old Spaniard was charged by the Football Association this week over his continued wearing of the ribbon — English soccer’s governing body saying it broke their rules on political messages.
Former Barcelona manager Guardiola has until March 5 to answer the charge but made an impassioned defence of his action when asked about it by reporters.
“I accept if I broke the rules, I accept the fine. I am a human being, it’s about humanity. There are four guys in prison, plus other guys (in exile) apparently for sedition, but for that you have to have weapons, and we don’t have weapons.
“We just have votes in the ballot boxes.
“This is always with me, always will be with me until the last, because it’s not about politicians, it’s about people who didn’t do anything, about democracy.”
Many Manchester City fans also wore the yellow ribbons, which were being handed out on the Wembley Way approach to England’s national stadium before kickoff.
Spain’s Supreme Court ordered the arrest of former Catalan member of parliament Anna Gabriel last week after she failed to appear in court to answer charges related to the region’s independence campaign.
Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont fled Spain shortly after Catalonia declared independence in October. He remains in self-imposed exile in Brussels with four members of his previous cabinet.
All face similar charges as Gabriel for their part in the independence push.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris