English Premiership

Fergie urges handshakes

2012-02-03 14:27
Alex Ferguson (Gallo)

Manchester - Sir Alex Ferguson will advise Manchester United players Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra to perform pre-match handshakes with John Terry and Luis Suarez, respectively, as the issue of racism continues to cast a shadow over football.

The handshake between the players of QPR and Chelsea was cancelled before the clubs' FA Cup tie in the wake of allegations that Chelsea's John Terry had racially abused opponent Anton Ferdinand in an earlier meeting between them.

Anton's brother Rio, the Manchester United defender, has been outspoken in supporting him and there have been reports that he would refuse to shake the hand of his England team mate when the defending Premier League champions travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

To further fuel the issue, United then host Liverpool a week on Saturday with Suarez available to Kenny Dalglish after serving an eight-match suspension for his racist abuse of Evra in the first league game between the sides.

However, Ferguson believes that in both instances his players should take the moral high ground and carry out the handshakes.

"John Terry might not play so I don't have to address it," said Ferguson of reports that injury may force Terry to miss Sunday's game.

"But I think I would have a word with Rio to see what his stance is because Rio in many ways has been fighting the racism issue for years, I've seen that in all the times I've known the lad.

"But there is a moment when he maybe has to rise above that. He has nothing to be ashamed of if he does decide to shake John Terry's hand.

"I've no issues with that at all because, as I've said, the real guilt doesn't lie with Rio at all. So he maybe should just rise above it all.

"The same the next week, we have Patrice Evra with Liverpool. Patrice has already shown the courage to fight it by complaining about it, so therefore he has nothing to be ashamed of. I don't think it's a problem shaking hands."

The issue of the Premier League's pre-game handshake has taken high prominence in the wake of the racism controversies although Ferguson insists he has no problem with the tradition.

"When it started, with the Premier League and Sky, I didn't think there was anything wrong with it," he said.

"It's only a handshake. I think there have been many occasions of players shaking the hands of an opponent and saying, 'You'll not be shaking my hand at the end of the game!'

"Football is football, it's a competitive game, I don't think there is anything really wrong with the handshake to be honest with you. It dresses the game up a little bit."

Meanwhile, Ferguson has further fuelled his dispute with former Liverpool player Alan Hansen, the high-profile BBC television pundit.

The United manager used his midweek programme notes to criticise Hansen for claiming that United had not played well for a year and a half and, after Hansen attempted to modify his comments on television this week, Ferguson remained unimpressed.

"He tried to change it by saying it was our away form but I have read his transcript and he said we were woeful for the last year and a half, he didn't mention away games," said Ferguson.

"So he's dug himself into a grave really. He's in a responsible position in the role he's got in football and it's obvious to me he has said it the week before we played Liverpool.

"And I can understand, he's a former Liverpool player, that's no problem for me, and Kenny's his pal, he's maybe tried to jack it up a little bit there but he should be more responsible really.

"When you think about it, we've played in European Cup Final, semi-final of the FA Cup last season, won the league by nine points, so we couldn't have been that woeful."


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