The Premier League's decision to cancel pre-match handshakes ahead of Sunday's game between Chelsea and QPR because of pending legal matters between the Blues' captain John Terry and the Hoops' centre-back Anton Ferdinand, might turn out to the right decision, under the circumstances.
The league's administrative body would, no doubt, have been guided in their decision by a similar incident between Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra. On that occasion, as reported by an earlier IBTimes UK story, not only was Suarez banned eight games for abusing Evra, he also refused, according to a report by the Guardian, to shake the Frenchman's hand despite being ordered to by officials, the next time the two sides met.
However, as the matter rests, even if the racist expletives Terry uttered in that game were used only in denial - as the former England skipper claims - we can all agree his choice of words were disappointing and not befitting a national team captain. Officials then cancelled the handshakes when the two sides met for an FA Cup game, at Stamford Bridge, in February.
Terry, of course, is no stranger to handshake snubs or being stripped of the England captaincy.
In January 2010, there were numerous reports Terry had a four month affair, the previous year, with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-girlfriend of his former Chelsea and England team mate Wayne Bridge. The allegations led to Fabio Capello (who was then the manger of the national team) dropping the Blues' skipper from his post. Terry and Perroncel maintained the alleged affair never took place.
However, Bridge, who was with Manchester City then, did not fancy a handshake when the two players met after the events. City visited Chelsea next month and when Bridge came near the Chelsea skipper for pre-match handshakes, Terry extended an arm at his former friend but Bridge looked away and declined the invitation.
The convention of handshakes is usually observed without question except in the most exceptional of circumstances. However, forcing Ferdinand to shake hands with Terry ahead of a court case between the two that will decide if Chelsea's captain is guilty of a racially aggravated public-order offence is like asking Bridge to ignore Terry's infidelity with the mother of his child.
Terry's attempt to prove his innocence will not be easy and his innocence in the public's eyes could be influenced by the fact that his club, reportedly, will not be bearing his legal costs.
- 23 October, 2011: In an intense encounter, QPR beat Chelsea 1-0 at Loftus Road. The Blues were reduced to nine men through the course of the match, with Portuguese right-back Jose Bosingwa and Ivorian forward Didier Drogba getting red cards.
- 2 November: Terry was placed under police investigation for allegedly making a racist abuse at Ferdinand during the match. Video footage circulating on the Internet led to accusations Terry called Ferdinand a "f*****g black c***". In response to the allegations, Terry claimed he did not abuse Ferdinand and was, in fact, asking him: "Anton, do you think I called you a black c***?"
- 25 November: Terry was interviewed under caution by the police.
- 21 December: Terry was charged for using racist language by the Crown Prosecution Service.
- 3 February, 2012: The FA stripped Terry of his England captaincy, stating the Chelsea man would not lead the national team till the racial abuse allegations against him were cleared.
- 9 July: Terry is due to stand trial and has entered a "Not Guilty" plea.