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PRO World Cup AR Joe Fletcher talks about the famous handshake snub

July 18, 2014

Greg Barkey and the PRO crew at FC Dallas

Clint Dempsey giving the USMNT a dream start after just 29 seconds against Ghana; Tim Cahill's spectacular volley for Australia against the Netherlands; Germany putting seven past hosts Brazil; Mario Gotze's winning goal in the final. 

The 2014 FIFA World Cup was made up of memorable moments that will never be forgotten, by players, supporters and officials.

But off the field, perhaps one of the most memorable moments came in the tunnel at the Maracana, an occasion that will never be forgotten by PRO assistant referee Joe Fletcher.

On Wednesday, June 18, the PRO World Cup crew of Mark Geiger, Sean Hurd and Fletcher were preparing to lead out Spain and Chile for a crucial Group B encounter, when FIFA coordinator Anthony Baffoe decided he wanted to shake a few hands.

Spain goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas was first to be greeted and Fletcher, standing next to Casillas, thought he was up next. Offering his hand to Baffoe, the Ghanaian had other ideas and ignored Fletcher’s outstretched palm, only for the Canadian AR to style the snub expertly, quickly stroking his head with the ignored hand.  

“Of all the things you prepare for, a handshake snub is certainly not one of them,” Fletcher joked to proreferees.com.

“I’ll remember it for a long time and it will always make me laugh. I’ve been having people come up to me to shake my hand and do what I did back to me. 

“The cameraman is always there but the little light that indicates that he is filming isn’t usually on but for that game it was – they were focused on the tunnel a lot more.

“In the tunnel you literally have a last check just in case someone is wearing some jewellery or something like that, and the FIFA General coordinator has a stopwatch to make sure you're on time.

“The first match we didn't shake hands with the General Coordinator, and in the third match we didn't either. That game, though, he had his own thing.

“He was going to one captain, then the other captain, and was then going to greet Mark, Sean and I. He didn't tell us that, though, and the rest is history.

“The biggest compliment with the missed handshake is that getting such big attention is probably that the game went well.

“If that happened and I made a wrong offside call they wouldn’t have discussed the handshake at all because the offside call would have gone around the world.”

The trio performed well at the Maracana, as they did all tournament, and Fletcher caught up with Baffoe, a former international soccer player, after the game for a friendly chat and a photo.

After speaking with FIFA's media department, Fletcher discovered that the handshake snub was seen by an estimated 10 million people in over 150 countries.


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