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FIFA panel calls for handshakes

A FIFA expert panel chaired by German legend Franz Beckenbauer has recommended that players should shake hands on the field more in order to improve the game's image.

The issue of the pre-match handshakes has come under the spotlight in recent months with Liverpool's Luis Suarez refusing to shake Manchester United defender Patrice Evra's hand after having being found guilty of racially abusing him.

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter was forced to issue a public apology for suggesting that racism on the pitch could be settled with a handshake and faced calls for his resignation, while the issue of poor sportsmanship has seen the game criticised from all quarters.

Beckenbauer, chairman of the Task Force Football 2014, insisted that "we simply have to stop'' incidents like the Suarez-Evra clash and claims that players should meet opponents in the centre circle after matches to bury the hatchet.

Beckenbauer also maintained that the panel agreed "it would be a better image ... when leaving the pitch together and not refusing a handshake". The former World Cup winner also said that FIFA should remind players and coaches of their responsibilities, and threaten the use of sanctions if they are not adhered to.

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