Carlisle calls for calm approach

PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle has called for the handshake row

surrounding John Terry and Anton Ferdinand to be put in

perspective.

Terry was cleared in court in July of allegations that he

racially abused the QPR defender in a match at Loftus Road last

season, though he still faces a Football Association charge over

the matter.

Ferdinand refused to shake hands with either the Chelsea skipper

or Ashley Cole, who appeared as a character witness for his Blues

and England team-mate, ahead of Saturday’s west London derby at

Loftus Road.

Rangers captain Park Ji-sung, a former Manchester United

team-mate of Ferdinand’s brother Rio, also opted not to shake his

opposite number’s hand during the pre-match formalities.

The incident overshadowed a goalless draw and, along with

Manchester United fans’ distasteful chanting about Liverpool in the

wake of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report being released

this week, dominates the agenda after another difficult week for

football.

York defender Carlisle feels that in the face of the

Hillsborough issue, Ferdinand and Terry’s feud is an unwanted

sideshow.

He told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme: “After all

that’s happened this week – talking about Hillsborough and a long

campaign and justice that has finally come for those families, and

the club and the city of Liverpool – it all seems quite

trivial.”

QPR manager Mark Hughes stated, before and after Saturday’s

game, his belief that the handshake ritual should be scrapped.

But Carlisle continued: “I’m actually an advocate of the

pre-match handshake, I think it’s a statement of intent to play the

game in a certain manner that’s befitting to a professional.

“It was brought in for the Respect campaign so it’s trying to

tie in that relationship with the officials as well, because both

teams have to shake their hands as well.

“I think it’s a good thing that’s in the game but when you do

get a matter like this, a situation that is so personal between two

people – or three people – you can’t force any human being to shake

another person’s hand.

“It becomes one of those talking points that right now football

can do without.

“When something has been so deep-rooted and has had such a

vitriolic response from both sets of supporters, I’m not surprised

there are residual feelings that bite into their professional

lives.

“But I would hope that at the conclusion of the FA inquiry, that

we can put this situation to bed from a media angle and an industry

angle and that the message that can come forth is one of education,

of how we move forward and ensure something like that doesn’t

happen again.”

There are fears the situation could be repeated next week when

Liverpool and United meet at Anfield, with Luis Suarez and Patrice

Evra having been embroiled in a race row of their own last

season.

Suarez served an eight-match ban after the FA found him guilty

of racially abusing Evra, and the Uruguayan controversially refused

to shake Evra’s hand when the sides met later in the season.

Clarke is hopeful the issue will not rear its head on this

occasion and said: “We have tried our best as a union to get all

four clubs together.

“With QPR and Chelsea it’s very difficult because it’s all still

ongoing and doing something like that could prejudice any kind of

investigation.

“With Manchester United and Liverpool, they as clubs have

decided that they want to try and put it to bed and they want

everybody else to help them to do that.”

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes the pre-match handshakes

should be cancelled in such instances.

He told Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme: “If you know

there’s going to be a problem, don’t do it (handshakes) in the

first place. It’s just a bit of political correctness.

“Get the two managers together and ask ‘are they going to do it?

No? Well let’s do away with the handshakes’.

“Even before the game everyone was ‘let’s get all the cameras on

this’ – it was built up to a massive crescendo and we know what we

were going to get – so don’t do it.

“Conversations before the game can boil over in some instances

but overall the fair play and respect side of things is promoted

extremely well.”