Premier League insist on QPR-Chelsea handshakes

John Terry
John Terry and Anton Ferdinand's altercation in last season's fixture still hangs over Saturday's meeting. Photo: PA

The Premier League have announced that the pre-match handshake before QPR's clash with Chelsea at Loftus Road tomorrow must take place.

Anton Ferdinand and John Terry, who has recovered from his ankle injury, will meet for the first time since the Chelsea captain's race trial in July.

Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October, but remains the subject of a Football Association investigation over charges that he denies.

QPR manager Mark Hughes revealed this afternoon that they were awaiting guidance from the Premier League, who have confirmed it must go ahead.

"There has been dialogue between the Premier League, Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea in relation to tomorrow's match between the two clubs," read a statement released by the Premier League.

"All parties understand and acknowledge that the pre-match handshake will go ahead as part of the normal pre-match activity."

Hughes earlier hinted at his reservations of the pre-match ritual and is exasperated that it is overshadowing tomorrow's highly-charged west London derby.

"There's a lot of debate every time we have a game against Chelsea," Hughes said.

"I've got my own views on the handshake and I raised those at Premier League level even before this season started. I don't want to go into that.

"We'll be guided by the Premier League and will respect the handshake if we're told that's what needs to happen.

"I'm conscious of the fact that every time we play Chelsea the issue of the handshake clouds everybody's mind and the focus is taken away from a great Premier League game.

"It's not my decision to make. We're governed by the Premier League and if we're told it will go ahead, then we will do that.

"We haven't spoken to them but I imagine they'll insist the handshake goes ahead, which isn't a problem."

Hughes held talks with his squad over the issue but refused to reveal what was said.

Ferdinand is reported to also be considering snubbing Ashley Cole after the Chelsea left-back testified as a character witness for Terry.

"We've had a discussion with the players but that's between myself and them. We don't have to broadcast that," Hughes said.

"We'll have to wait and see (if Ferdinand shakes Terry's hand). Everybody has a mind of their own and will make a personal decision.

"It's unfortunate that they're in a situation where it's in the public domain. Anton is fine, there's no problem with him."