Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Handshake ideal has had its day

With the build-up to Chelsea's game at QPR dominated by the pre-match 'fair-play' handshake, and whether or not players who clearly do not get on would take part in it - rather than the game itself - is it now time to ditch this divisive FA ritual?

The football authorities will argue that the handshake promotes the FIFA 'fair-play' ideal and is designed to create a better atmosphere between players before a ball has been kicked on the pitch.

In the vast majority of games, they are nothing more than a visible part of the pre-match routine with little at stake but when players with considerable 'history' come face-to-face it becomes incendiary.

That was the case last season between Manchester United defender Patrice Evra and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez following their race row, and it was also a significant issue when Chelsea duo John Terry and Ashley Cole took to the pitch at Loftus Road with Anton Ferdinand in the opposition side.

There are likely to be several more pre-match handshakes this season dominated by a lack of one between players who have a considerable grudge to bear and again the focus of sport news networks will be on that rather than what is about to happen on the field.

Some fans, players, managers and pundits have been fairly critical of the handshake with their argument being that a traditional post-match embrace should suffice after 22 players have given their all over 90 minutes.

The handshake before the game was only introduced four years ago and was met by initial bemusement by fans and some players, who believed it should be saved until afterwards.

So, all things considered, it seems it is largely a pointless excerise and, when it becomes more of a talking point in news and sport updates than the actual game, it surely proves it's an idea that has significant flaws.

No comments: