The Premier League committee have reportedly cancelled pre-match handshakes between players for the upcoming fixture between Chelsea and Queen Park Rangers because of legal complications involving Blues' captain John Terry and Hoops' defender Anton Ferdinand, according to an ESPN report.
Terry, who is suspended from Chelsea's Champions League final clash with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, is being charged with racial discrimination against Ferdinand following the 31 year old's alleged abuse directed at the Hoops defender during the Blues' earlier 0-1 defeat to QPR on 23 October.
Ferdinand, who will be meeting with Terry for the first time since the two teams' earlier clash, has been reportedly advised (by his legal attorneys) not to shake Terry's ahead of the match. Ferdinand's legal advisers believe the handshake between the two players may affect the trial of the former England captain. Terry's lawyers also suggested the same could happen if the Hoops defender refused to shake hands. Keeping these points in mind, the Premier League has decided to do away with the whole formality before the match.
"The Premier League position on the pre-match handshake convention remains consistent. In all normal circumstances it must be observed," read a Premier League statement, according to a Daily Mail report.
"However, after discussions with both Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers about the potential and specific legal context in relation to John Terry and Anton Ferdinand the decision has been taken to suspend the handshake convention for Sunday's match," the statement further read, reported the Telegraph.
However, Terry, who claims he is innocent of all charges, says he will fight very hard to prove his innocence and clear his name of such a vile offence. The trial is scheduled to take place on 9 July, eight days after the finals of the 2012 European Championships to be held in Ukraine and Poland.
The FA has had to deal with a number of such racial incidents in the recent past, including the enormously controversial clash between Liverpool's Uruguyuan striker Luis Suarez and Manchester United's French left-back Patrice Evra. On the latter ocassion, the FA did ask Suarez and Evra to shake hands; however, that once again led to more controversy. Suarez, who was banned for eight games after being found guilty of racial abuse, refused to shake the Frenchman's hand.
Meanwhile, QPR defender Ferdinand has dismissed thoughts the row with Terry could cause him to lose focus ahead of the game and said he was only concentrating on his side's clash.