The board of the Nobel Peace Centre said on Monday it wished to end its formal cooperation with football’s scandal-plagued ruling body FIFA over the “Handshake for Peace” programme.
The symbolic fair play gesture has been promoted by FIFA since 2014 at various levels of the game, and includes a handshake between the captains and referees before and after the final whistle.
It was used by captains at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil “in the spirit of Alfred Nobel and Nobel laureates.”
Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite endowed the Nobel Peace Prize.
“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 said that the handshakes would continue as planned at the ongoing Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand; the women’s World Cup in Canada and future events.
It, however, expressed anger at how the matter was being handled.
“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.
“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 in a statement.