Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, questioned on Friday whether he would be allowed to make a political statement in the same manner as Pep Guardiola after the Manchester City manager's show of support for prisoners in Catalonia.
Guardiola has begun to wear a yellow ribbon in recent months, with the symbol used by Catalonia’s independence movement to call for the release from jail of members of the region’s government.
The former Barcelona manager and native of Catalonia, who Mourinho will come up against in Sunday’s Manchester derby, first wore the ribbon during his side’s 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion on 28 October.
Though he went without one for the Champions League trip to Napoli the following Wednesday, Guardiola has been seen sporting the symbol in every game since.
When asked whether he would ever make a similar political gesture, Mourinho said: “I think I wouldn't be allowed to, that’s just what I think.”
The United manager, who has previously complained officials do not use the “same rules for everyone” added: “I think that our political ideology and our political beliefs is something that we have the right to have.
“We are normal citizens like everybody else in our countries and everybody else in our world. I've known Pep for many years, I think I know what Pep feels about his country. To have it in football, I don't know the rules,” he said.
“If the rules allow us to do that, he is a free citizen to do it. But I am not sure if the rules allow any political message on the pitch. That's just my doubt. But I know Pep and I know his feelings like everyone else because it is public about his country.”
According to the Premier League’s rulebook and in line with Fifa’s Laws of the Game, players are forbidden from revealing “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images or advertising”.
There is not, however, any rule regarding whether managers can wear an item of clothing or an accessory which is intended to act as a political statement.
Last year, Fifa fined the football associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after all four wore armbands featuring an image of the Remembrance poppy.
The poppy was banned by world football’s governing body at the time under its rule prohibiting political, religious or personal symbols from display on shirts.
In September, however, the governing body introduced relaxed rules on ‘political’ symbols, allowing them provided that the opposing team and the organising body concerned approve.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies