Pep Guardiola has poured scorn on Football Association (FA) chief Martin Glenn for his comments regarding the yellow ribbon worn by the Manchester City manager.
The Catalan accused Glenn, who apologised for a botched explanation of the FA’s stance on political symbols, of misunderstanding what his ribbon represents.
Guardiola has accepted an FA charge of breaching its kit and advertising regulations for “wearing a political message, specifically a yellow ribbon”.
On Monday Glenn apologised for comparing the Jewish Star of David with the Nazi swastika and Robert Mugabe when explaining the FA’s rules on players and managers sporting political symbols during games, in which he insisted that the yellow ribbon was “a symbol of Catalan independence”.
Yet Guardiola insists it is not about supporting Catalan independence but expressing solidarity with members of the movement who have been imprisoned without charge.
“Mr Glenn has apologised,” said Guardiola.
“My first impression is that he doesn't understand what the yellow ribbon means. It is not about independence. It is about people being in jail when they did nothing to deserve it. It is as simple as that.
“He didn’t understand the reality. I am pretty sure he does now.”
Guardiola, who has tried to hide his yellow ribbon during matches in order to comply with the FA’s rules in recent weeks, confirmed he will once again display the ribbon during City’s Champions League match against Basel at Etihad Stadium tomorrow night.
City earned a commanding 4-0 lead in the first leg of the last 16 clash but after a week in which they twice demolished Arsenal — including in the Carabao Cup final — and then suffocated Chelsea, Guardiola has warned against any heady comparisons with his former charges at Barcelona.
“It is not good to compare us with Barcelona,” he said.
“That team dominated the last 10 years. We just won our first title [the Carabao cup]. To be compared with these teams you have to be there for many, many years. We’ve just won one title.”
Guardiola could have Raheem Sterling to call-upon after the winger returned to first-team training after suffering from a knee problem that has kept him out of action for the last three weeks.
Left-back Benjamin Mendy, a £52m summer signing from Monaco, has also returned to training after rupturing his cruciate knee ligaments in September.
“He [Mendy] is back but after six months out we must be patient,” said Guardiola.