What is a guard of honour in football & why do clubs do it?

goal.com, 2 July 2020, 07:39
What is a guard of honour in football & why do clubs do it?
It is a commonly observed tradition across many football leagues and, indeed, beyond the sport, but what is it about?

Like many sports, football has plenty of traditions which are tightly woven into the pageantry of the game at all levels.

Etiquette and good sportsmanship have been important aspects of the game, with the idea being that, while you compete with an opponent, you should also respect them.

Hence, we see things such as handshakes before and after the game - albeit not anymore due to restrictions brought in to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

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Another common tradition in football is the guard of honour, but what exactly is it and why do football teams do them?

Contents

What is a guard of honour in football?

Why do clubs perform a guard of honour?

Is a guard of honour compulsory?

What is a guard of honour in football?

A guard of honour is a display of respect that is usually reserved for the winners of a league or cup competition.

Before a match kicks off or prior to a trophy presentation, players from the opposing team create two parallel lines to flank the champions as they enter the pitch or make their way to lift the trophy.

As part of the guard of honour, players usually applaud the champions in acknowledgement of their feat - a show of basic respect that transcends customary rivalries.

In Spain, the guard of honour is known as a pasillo, which translates literally into English as 'hallway' or 'corridor'.

Testimonial games, where an individual player's service is publicly acknowledged, usually see the players from both teams form a guard of honour for the person being celebrated.

Why do clubs perform a guard of honour?

Clubs perform a guard of honour in order to acknowledge the achievement of the champions in a respectful manner.

In 2020, ahead of the meeting between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola indicated that his team would grant the Reds the honour for winning the Premier League title.

"We are going to do the guard of honour, of course," said the Catalan coach.

"Always we receive Liverpool, when they came to our house, in an incredible way. They cannot complain. Of course we are going to do it because they deserve it."

However, it is not always done in such a magnanimous fashion and is very often carried out through gritted teeth, particularly in the case of bitter rivals.

Gary Neville was famously bitter about giving Chelsea a guard of honour in 2005, likening it to having your wife leave you then "being asked to hang the new bloke's clothes up in your old wardrobe!!"

Will never forget Robin van Persie getting a Guard of Honour at Arsenal after winning the title with @ManUtd

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