Another English football match is set to be overshadowed by a non-handshake before kickoff – except this time it’s managers rather than players at the center of the feud.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock is threatening to snub Chelsea counterpart Rafael Benitez in the pre-match protocol for Wednesday’s League Cup quarterfinal at Elland Road.
Warnock is still furious that Benitez, when in charge of Liverpool, played a supposed weakened team against Fulham in the next-to-last match of the 2006-07 Premier League season. Fulham won, indirectly helping relegate Sheffield United – then managed by Warnock.
”I’m professional so I won’t have any problem,” Benitez said Tuesday. ”There will be a lot of people watching us, so we have to behave.”
Warnock has previously said he will ”never forgive” Benitez, whose legal team later sent an email warning of possible action through the courts were he to be mentioned by Warnock again in relation to the incident.
”I think it (the email) had his name on, I think it was his solicitor who was threatening legal action and I’ve got it in a scrapbook at home,” Warnock said.
”I’ve no idea if I’ll shake his hand,” Warnock added. ”I’ve made my feelings clear over the last few years – and nothing will change that.”
Recent Premier League games have been overshadowed by the refusal of players to shake opponents’ hands before kickoff.
Wayne Bridge snubbed John Terry’s outstretched hand before a match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February 2010, following allegations Terry had an affair with Bridge’s former girlfriend.
In February this year, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez refused to shake hands with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra to continue a racism feud while Anton Ferdinand did likewise with Terry before a west London derby between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea in September.