Handshakes a Sham

February 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm 6 comments

First it was Wayne Bridge and John Terry and now we have witnessed Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez refusing to shake hands prior to a Premier League match causing unwanted publicity to the league.

Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes came out publically and stated that the pre match handshake should be abandoned due to the insincerity of the gesture after it was agreed that no such activity should take place prior to QPR’s FA Cup tie with Chelsea. This was due to QPR’s Anton Ferdinand’s impending court case against Chelsea’s John Terry over alleged racial abuse.

This weekend it was almost inevitable that Suarez would ignore Evra’s outstretched hand and not only did he make himself look a bigger fool but he embarrassed the game, yet again.

Who can blame Rio Ferdinand for withdrawing his hand in support of his teammate, Evra. However none of this is helping the issue of racial tension and abuse within the game.

The one thing it does highlight that the handshake before the game is irrelevant and in fact causes more bad publicity than good.

Football is a passionate game, and many players do feel the same pride in the shirt they wear as their fans, and so prior to a match against a traditional rival emotions are likely to be running high by the time match day comes around. The shaking of an opponent’s hand is not going to do much to temper that passion.

As Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher said after this weekend’s incident he would prefer not to shake hands before a game, but is more than happy to do so after the match has been concluded. Most athletes who have played competitive sport will agree with this and it makes one wonder if the bright spark who came up with the pre match handshake ever played anything competitively in his life.

Let us hope that lessons are learned in the Premier league this year and in season 2012/13 and even in the Hyundai A League this trite ritual is assigned to the scrap heap.


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ryan  |  February 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    i disagree ashley. the shaking of an opponent’s hand is a sporting gesture which we should want to see MORE of not less of. we have to remember that these footballers are role models for kids out there and they should be displaying sporting gestures on the field.

    yes suarez should be vilified for his unsporting behaviour, but the whole act of shaking hands should not be done away with because of the acts of a small minority. otherwise what example are we setting?

  • 2. notthefootyshow  |  February 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Ryan, Thanks for the comment.

    I agree that they are role models but you should never shake hands with a player just because the game’s administrators say you should. The sad thing is it is no longer a genuine gesture and therefore has nothing to do with sporting behaviour.

    Just as teams clapping fans has become at times incredibly ingenuine.

    Personally I have never seen the point in shaking hands with opponents once we have changed to ‘do battle.’ However am more than happy to do so on arrival at a ground, and after the game.

    The only exception being as a goalkeeper if we change ends after the toss, I genuinely wish the other ‘keeper all the best, as we are both in a unique position, and where an error’s more likely to be costly, and can empathise if they make one that costs them the game.

    Evra showed himself to be a bigger man that Suarez, after all he was the one sinned against and he was prepared to offer his hand, and should be applauded for that. Suarez, has shown his true colours.

  • 3. all white  |  February 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I have to agree that they are ridiculous. If a player wants to shake an opponents hand he can do so in the tunnel, but there is no need on the pitch. It is some crap thought up by people who have never played the game.

    I have just read your reply to Ryan and have to say thank you. I thought I was the only one who thought the players clapping the fans to also be on most occasions totally fake, and done for commercial reasons rather than because they genuinely feel a connection with the fans. In this I am talking more about the A league.

    The sooner the handshakes are cut from the game the better! After this weekend they have to be stopped, they are more embarrassing than helpful.

  • 4. Don  |  February 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Sorry Ashley and All White… but I beg to disagree. The handshake is something appreciated by those who play at an elite level, apart from the very few who think they are above sportsmanship. It’s definitely not something thought up by “those who have never played the game”.

    Even at international level, shaking hands and wishing your opponents the best of luck is for the most part not just a symbol, but a genuine gesture. You hope for a fair game, and hope your opponent performs to their utmost, as it’s always better top beat an opponent having a good game. Once on the court / field / pitch, obviously you give your all and they other team is “the enemy” if you wish, but before the game and after the game, you should always be genuinely respectful of the opposition. It is a sporting contest after all…

    Removing gestures like the hand-shake along with sporting gestures on the pitch like putting the ball out of bounds for an injured opponent help to keep sport as just that – sport – and not as a professional win-at-all-costs pursuit.

  • 5. Not the Footy Show  |  February 13, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Don, thanks for your comment but on a point of fact the shaking of hands is a fairly recent thing prior to games.

    Teams would shake hands with the dignitaries at international games and then head off to their side of the pitch. They did not shake each others hands.

    As for doing it in club games FIFA brought in the pre-match handshake as part of its Fair Play initiative. Not that long ago teams did not even walk out together, but separately; Except for some of the big games such as Cup finals.

    It is very much a modern innovation, which has its merit, but as stated should only ever be done if it is meant, and never purely as a gesture. I would like to believe that the respect you talk about is always there, if it is not then we are really in a bad place.

  • 6. supersub  |  February 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Have to agree, shaking hands is a load of rubbish and has absolutely nothing to do with sportsman ship prior to the game but everything to do with it after one.

    Too many people simply accept directives from sports administrators, and this has now caused unwanted negative publicity to football and inflamed the row between Evra and Suarez even more.

    Three times now this has happened and no one learns. As you say it never used to happen and its time to stop it. If you want to shake hands do it in the tunnel, no need for these public displays of fake affection!


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