Martin Glenn, the English Football Association chief executive has rejected any suggestion that Pep Guardiola wearing a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians is equivalent to the governing body’s defiance over FIFA’s poppy ban.
Glenn instead claimed that the Manchester City manager has angered many by wearing the ribbon during games while claiming that the the FA’s fight against FIFA’s poppy ban was an act of remembrance for fallen soldiers and not a political emblem.
City coach Guardiola would have until 6pm on Monday to respond to a charge for wearing what the FA considers to be a political symbol, during the 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Wigan last month.
Still, Guardiola’s representatives are set to claim the ribbon is a show of solidarity for pro‑independence Catalan politicians imprisoned in Spain as opposed to an act of political activism but it is unlikely to hold sway with the FA.
“We have rewritten Law 4 of the game so that things like a poppy are OK but things that are going to be highly divisive are not,” Glenn said. “That could be strong religious symbols, it could be the Star of David, it could the hammer and sickle, it could be a swastika, anything like Robert Mugabe on your shirt — these are the things we don’t want.”
“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 pissed off by it. All we are doing is even-handedly applying the laws of the game.”
“Poppies are not political symbols; that yellow ribbon is. Where do you draw the line, should we have someone with a UKIP badge? Someone with an ISIS badge?”
Glenn added that he had no problem with FIFA’s rules against the displaying of political symbols during games.
“We don’t want football equipment to display political symbols. That has always been the case. The problem we had with poppies is that for some reason a new person at Fifa seemed to think poppies were a political symbol and we fought hard against that notion and thankfully sense broke out.”