Pep Guardiola silent on Bernardo Silva charge - Manchester City reporter notebook
By Ben Ransom in Manchester
Last Updated: 04/10/19 3:07pm
Pep Guardiola refused to answer questions on Bernardo Silva's FA charge on Friday - Sky Sports News reporter Ben Ransom looks at the row that will not go away…
"No comment anymore".
It was a noticeable change of tack from Pep Guardiola when asked about whether he was disappointed that the Football Association had charged Bernardo Silva with misconduct.
Silva is facing punishments that range from a compulsory education programme up to a possible six-match ban if he is found guilty of discrimination for a tweet, where he likened a picture of a young Benjamin Mendy to a cartoon used historically by Spanish confectionary company Conguitos.
The offending tweet may have only existed on Silva's Twitter feed for 45 minutes before being deleted, but it is an issue that will not go away as easily for Manchester City.
In the auditorium the talk among the assembled press pack was about the ongoing issue, after another week of column inches devoted to the subject.
Up until now Guardiola has been robust in his defence, describing Silva as an "exceptional person" and that it would be a mistake for the FA to punish him for "just a joke".
This time last week the City manager faced numerous questions on the issue and used the platform to publicly stand by his player. He pointed out the close bond between Silva and Mendy, as well as giving his opinion that the tweet did not make reference to Mendy's skin colour, and that he thinks the two images are "quite similar".
But on Friday, perhaps in the knowledge that the FA are also monitoring his comments, Guardiola was shutting up shop.
Silva has until October 9 to respond, with a suggestion that he will request a personal hearing to echo the content of a letter he has already written to the FA. In that letter, Sky Sports News understands, he expressed his regret at causing any unintentional offence.
Kick It Out, the body that tackles racial discrimination in English football, has been very clear on the issue. They headed calls for the FA to take retrospective action over the image - pointing expressly to the racial stereotypes featured in the cartoon.
Their statement said: "We're shocked that someone who is a role model to millions has failed to understand the discriminatory nature of his post."
By the time they get back to matters on the pitch against Wolves on Sunday, Manchester City could again find themselves eight points behind Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.
All of their focus needs to be on making sure they keep up the pressure and do not fall any further behind in the title race.
But until the FA decide Silva's fate, as much as they would like to move on, it is an ugly issue that will not go away.