FIFA, the world football’s governing body, believes football is a game for everyone that brings people of all strata of the society together, where all who play the game are equals. Handshakes help in protecting and promoting the spirit of fair play and respect is a virtue which is essential for the future of budding footballers. It is important to encourage respect and solidarity to make the game truly beautiful.

The Hero ISL Children’s League not only encourages children to play football at a young age but also aims at enabling young children to receive holistic development. Children engage in handshakes before the commencement of every match in the Hero ISL Children’s League. Football is not just about the battle on the pitch but also respect for each other off it. A simple gesture of handshake can be a powerful symbol of peace, and is generally done to display respect.

Handshakes are such a small part of any football match, that they are seldom given much importance. But it plays such a major role in ensuring respect and breaking barriers. It is important for children to learn to know how to behave when they are not playing. Children must also know how to handle victory as well as defeat.

Even at the end of a match, it takes certain amount of character for children who have given their best on the pitch but fallen short, to congratulate the victor with dignity and grace. This happens not only in football, but also in life. Kids need to learn the fact that, while it is often much fun to win, it is entirely possible to be disappointed in a result. At the end of the day, they should be proud of their efforts. Their efforts brought the best out of their opponents. Respect must be earned, not just given. A match is not possible without an opponent, and a quality opponent is always good to bring out the competitiveness in the players. Nothing is better than a close, hard-fought match.

Former Newcastle United and England striker Alan Shearer had aptly remarked, “I remember having serious wars out on the pitch with Arsenal legend Tony Adams that would leave both of us battered, bruised and requiring numerous stitches. But yes, afterwards we would shake hands.”

To conclude, the handshake is not just about respect for the opponent, but also respect for the game. It is important to have this kind of tradition at football’s grassroots level. After all, it’s not just about the matches being organized, but also ensuring that the values of sportsmanship and respect are inculcated in children from a young age.