The board of the Nobel Peace Centre said on Monday it wished to end its formal cooperation “Handshake for Peace” initiative with FIFA following corruption scandal plaguing the World Football governing body.
The Handshake for Peace initiative combines football’s international reach with the simple gesture of a handshake between the captains and referees before and after the final whistle to promote peace and fair play.
At FIFA’s tournaments, players and officials use the Handshake for Peace to set a good example in front of both the fans inside the stadium and the wider public watching games on television.
“We still believe in the ‘Handshake for Peace’ initiative and wish for it to live on in the future,” said Bente Erichsen, executive director of the Nobel Peace Centre.
The Nobel Peace Centre said it would begin discussions with the Norwegian Football Association on how to continue the programme.
FIFA, however, expressed anger at how the matter was being handled by the Nobel Peace Centre
In a statement issued by FIFA, it said: “We are disappointed to have learned from the media about the Nobel Peace Centre’s intent to terminate the cooperation with FIFA on the Handshake for Peace initiative. FIFA is reluctant to accept this unilateral approach on what is a joint initiative between the football community and the Nobel Peace Centre (NPC).
“This action does not embody the spirit of fair play especially as it obstructs the promotion of the key values of peace-building and anti-discrimination.
FIFA said over the past few months, its officials, the Norwegian Football Association and the Nobel Peace Centre have had ongoing discussions on how best to proceed with this important initiative and these discussions continued, but was shocked to learn that the Joint initiative has been terminated by the NPC.
“The Handshake for Peace will remain as an integral part of the match protocol at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada as scheduled and at future competitions, FIFA said.
In 2012, the 209 member associations at the FIFA Congress decided to implement and promote the initiative and this commitment was reconfirmed at the 65th Congress last month. It is important to clarify that Handshake for Peace represents an agreement between the NPC and the global football community.