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New Premier League handshake row looms

New Premier League handshake row looms
By Eurosport

14/09/2012 at 00:03

According to Thursday's newspapers it appears the Premier League could be braced for a new round of handshake controversy this weekend.

It is reported that QPR defender Anton Ferdinand is ready to snub the hands of both John Terry and Ashley Cole when his side face Chelsea at Loftus Road.

Terry was cleared in court of racially abusing Ferdinand in the same fixture last season but is now the subject of an FA investigation over the allegations he called the QPR defender a "f****** black c***."

The two teams faced each other in the FA Cup after the controversy erupted last season but the FA chose to scrap the traditional pre-match handshakes due to the sensitivity of the situation. The ceremony was also abandoned before the league match at Stamford Bridge on April 29.

Regardless of the tension that remains, though, the Premier League has no plans to cancel Saturday's pre-match handshakes, with a spokesperson saying: "We are expecting the handshakes to go forward."

However, it is believed that Ferdinand will refuse to shake Terry's hand should the Chelsea defender return from an ankle injury to make Chelsea's starting XI.

The match could also involve Chelsea left-back Cole - another recovering from injury - following his appearance as a character witness for Terry, and it is reported that Ferdinand is also unwilling to shake his hand.

Furthermore, the Daily Mail adds: "In another twist, Ferdinand’s older brother Rio is considering a similar snub to his former England team-mate when Manchester United face Chelsea on October 28.

"The Ferdinands believe they were betrayed by Cole when he agreed to speak as a defence witness for John Terry in his successful court battle against the charge that he racially abused Anton last season.

"Rio shares his brother’s antipathy towards Cole since the trial and the Manchester United defender seemingly endorsed a tweet referring to the left back as a ‘choc ice’ — a term with clear racial connotations. Rio was found guilty of improper conduct and hit with a £45,000 fine by the FA.

"Now the centre half is considering whether he will shake hands with Cole when United travel to Stamford Bridge on October 28."

Chelsea issued a statement on Thursday afternoon calling for fans to behave themselves.

It said: "Last January's FA Cup match at QPR and the meeting between the sides in April at Stamford Bridge were good examples of passionate and vocal rivalry with the fans of both clubs recognising that abuse and discrimination have no place in a football stadium, nor anywhere else in society.

"Chelsea Football Club wishes to see the level of respect at those games continued throughout this campaign, as it has been in our opening matches.

"Both Chelsea and QPR will work together with the police to ensure that anyone using discriminatory or inflammatory language on Saturday is identified, and that the strongest possible action is taken against them."

It is understood that QPR will make an announcement on the matter before Mark Hughes's pre-match press conference tomorrow afternoon.

The Premier League has not been involved in the ongoing talks between the clubs and does not expect to be approached about cancelling the handshake as there is no active legal case.

If there is controversy on Saturday it would only be the latest in a number of handshake rows to erupt in the Premier League in recent seasons.

Terry was at the centre of another in February 2010 when his former team-mate Wayne Bridge refused to shake his hand prior to a Premier League game between Manchester City and Chelsea.

Bridge felt aggrieved at allegations in the press that Terry had conducted an affair with his former partner.

Last season, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was forced to apologise after he refused to shake the hand of Patrice Evra prior to a Premier League game at Old Trafford in February.

Suarez had been found guilty of racially abusing the Manchester United defender.

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