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September 24, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Nothin’ But Net

Always shake it twice

In an EPL season there are nearly 50,000 handshakes. I get it; it’s supposed to be a show of respect. But 50,000? The only ones we remember are those that don’t happen.

Last weekend QPR’s Anton Ferdinand let the world know how he feels about John Terry by snubbing his handshake in the minutes leading up to his side’s meeting with Chelsea.

But even if he had shook, would anybody have been fooled into thinking that somebody actually likes John Terry?

There’s some flawed logic in FIFA’s ongoing ‘respect’ campaign. Just by showing the word ‘respect’ a lot, and forcing players to shake hands before games, we aren’t making players like each other.

Rather, we’re simply forcing eleven blokes to smile for the camera and fake it as they prepare to hurl abuse, cheat, and kick the shit out of each other for an hour and a half.

FIFA has recently implemented a ‘Handshake for Peace’, which not only forces the players to shake hands but has guidelines on exactly how to do it. (For those interested, a ‘Handshake for Peace’ is a vertical handshake; much less formal, and so much more bullshit).

Last year Lionel Messi was fined for revealing a birthday message to his mother in celebration of a goal. A Danish striker was given a hefty fine for wearing sponsored underpants at Euro 2012. FIFA took the cash and shut up.

But these ‘childish’ handshake snubs are the ones which make the news. As far as I’m concerned, If Sepp Blatter wants to side with Terry, he might as well be wiping his arse with the giant ‘RESPECT’ banners shown off before every FIFA game.

The pre-match handshake is in itself an unusual sporting ritual. In rugby and league they do the complete opposite; the All Blacks chant a death threat while Willie Mason and Quade Cooper act as if the whole thing is a piss-take.

But at the end of the game, the players let go of their resentment, shake hands, and go home.

If the players actually respect each other, they’ll show it how they like. While this will mean players like John Terry find themselves very lonely in the warm-down, is it really any more than he deserves?

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