HE is perhaps the best-known Catalan outside of the north-eastern Spanish state and Pep Guardiola’s wearing of a yellow ribbon in support of political prisoners in his homeland has propelled him even further into the glare of the spotlight.

The Manchester City manager yesterday accepted a charge from English football’s governing body for wearing the ribbon, which the FA said was a political symbol.

In a brief statement last night, a spokesperson for the FA said: “Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted an FA charge for wearing a political message, specifically a yellow ribbon, in breach of The FA’s kit and advertising regulations. A paper hearing has been requested, with a date to be set in due course.”

A paper hearing means written evidence will be considered in private.

According to Manchester City, Guardiola is not apologising for wearing the ribbon, but is simply observing the FA’s rules. In Guardiola’s official response, he told the FA he was content to “recognise the stipulations” of the rules of the country in which he was working and would observe these by no longer wearing the ribbon – a show of support for imprisoned Catalan politicians.

Manchester City officials have also said that since the FA charged him, he has tried to cover up the ribbon, wearing it under his jacket during two matches against Arsenal, although it was visible when he unzipped his coat during the Carabao Cup final on February 25.

Guardiola did not wear the ribbon during Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea and replaced it with a yellow daffodil in support of the cancer charity Marie Curie.

The FA had words with the City boss in December after previously issuing him with two formal warnings. He is free to wear the ribbon elsewhere, but the FA acted when he wore it pitch side against Wigan on February 19.

Two pro-independence grassroots community leaders in Catalonia – Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez – have been imprisoned without bail since the independence referendum in October, along with former Catalan MPs and government ministers.

Guardiola said in November: “If one day in prison was already too much, look how many days they’ve been there now. Like everybody knows, hopefully sooner or later I can stop wearing it. All the politicians that are in prison, I hope they can leave and go back home soon with their families and continue living the lives they deserve.”

In a written response to the FA charge, Manchester City highlighted what they said was inconsistency with the rules, pointing out that Uefa has no regulation stopping managers wearing such symbols, as long as they are deemed inoffensive.

They also pointed out that Guardiola does not believe the yellow ribbon is a political symbol and cited the FA’s position on the poppy as a direct comparison.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn faced fierce criticism yesterday after he tried to justify Guardiola’s charge by appearing to equate the Star of David with a swastika.

Damian Collins, chair of Westminster’s Select Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told the radio station talkSPORT the FA should show more common sense and allow Guardiola to wear the ribbon.

He said: “It’s not like he’s wearing a slogan, it’s a small symbol that has meaning for him ... something to do with the politics of another country, not this country. I think a bit common sense should be shown here.”