Why was handshake protocol changed at Old Trafford?

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Much has been made of the pre-match handshake’s at Old Trafford on Saturday but there may have been one major change to proceedings that you didn’t notice.

Rather than the home team walking to shake hands with the visiting team, as per FA protocol, it was the away side who were asked to greet the home team.

The FA’s protocol on pre-match handshakes states:

The Home team, led by their captain, then walks to shake hands with the match officials, and then the away team’s players. Once each Home team player has finished shaking hands with the last away team player they disperse to their favoured end to kick-in.

Therefore, why was this protocol not followed prior to the Man United vs Liverpool game on Saturday?

Instead, Liverpool – the away team – were the team who walked along to shake hands with the home team – Man United.

We contacted the Football Association on Monday to ask why protocol was not adhered to and were told that they had not ordered the change.

So just who did make the decision to change the protocol? And why?

Was it referee Phil Dowd? Was it Manchester United?

Is this just part of the hidden agenda Kenny Dalglish and Luis Suarez have hinted at in their comments in recent months?

Answers on a postcard…

UPDATE: The Daily Mail are now reporting that referee Phil Dowd made the decision to change the protocol. Reporting that “the thinking behind the switch was to keep Suarez moving so he did not become a sitting target for anyone intent on making a public statement.”

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