AMSTERDAM: A religious culture controversy has surfaced in Dutch football after Utrecht’s Nacer Barazite declined to shake hand with Dutch Fox TV interviewer Helene Hendriks after a 4-2 defeat of Twente Enschede.

The Moroccan did exchange a handshake with male interviewer John de Wolf but the 25-year-old explained his attitude to Hendriks on religious grounds.

Utrecht had agreed before the season that their two Muslim players, Barazite and Yassin Ayoub, would not shake hands with women journalists. The club had informed media outlets of the fact and asked journalists to respect the preference.

Hendriks said that the agreement had been forgotten on the spur of the moment.

Media comment has noted an apparent contradition in that, while Utrecht has provided the players with a prayer room, they have had to accept treatment by the club’s female physiotherapist.