On 19 February, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter sent a letter to the 32 finalists competing in this summer’s 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ reminding them of the principals behind the governing body’s ‘Handshake for Peace’ initiative.
The protocol, which was adopted following an agreement between FIFA and the Nobel Peace Centre at the 2012 FIFA Congress in Budapest, was officially debuted on 10 December at the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013.
The plan is to continue using the campaign in the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil to gain further visibility for the act. President Blatter explained in his letter that “all captains will now be invited to meet the opposing captain together with the referee, at the spot where they performed the coin toss. Here they will partake in the Handshake for Peace, a simple gesture and powerful symbol representing reconciliation after competing on the pitch.”
Ultimately, the campaign aims to link the universality and power of football with a simple gesture, with the handshake providing a strong sense of goodwill, respect and peace across society as a whole.
“In setting up the Peace Prize, Alfred Nobel wished to promote fraternity between nations, and it is our belief that football has a central role to play in that cause,” the President summarised in his letter, with representatives of all 32 teams set to meet in Florianopolis this week for the customary seminar discussing World Cup preparations. “The Handshake for Peace will be a symbol that allows the world to see the stars of football greet and respect each other when the match is over.”
Under the new protocol, players will not be allowed to leave the pitch without shaking hands with opposition players and match officials alike. Furthermore, coaches are also expected to greet each other as well as thanking and shaking hands with the referee.
“This symbol will show that even contests for the highest of rewards on the field of play can be ended in a peaceful and respectful manner,” President Blatter continued before concluding by hinting at a global aim. “The effect of this symbol can travel far beyond the tournament in Brazil.”