Barclays Premier League bosses have avoided another awkward pre-match handshake involving John Terry by abandoning the traditional pre-match routine when Chelsea played Queens Park Rangers last weekend.
Chelsea skipper Terry is facing a July 9 court case over allegations he racially abused Anton Ferdinand during QPR’s victory over Chelsea in October.
Terry, who lost the England captaincy over the issue, has strongly denied wrongdoing, but the FA, who also cancelled the handshakes when these two sides clashed in the FA Cup earlier this year, have spared a repeat of when Manchester City’s Wayne Bridge brushed his former teammate.
“The Premier League position on the pre-match handshake convention remains consistent,” a statement issued by the Premier League on Friday said.
“In all normal circumstances it must be observed.
“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.”
Before the announcement, Crown Prosecution Service had not advised Terry to avoid shaking hands with Ferdinand.
“Some sections of the media have reported that the CPS has advised footballer John Terry not to shake hands with Anton Ferdinand before a match this weekend. This is not correct,” the CPS statement said.
“The CPS has not given any such advice to Terry or his legal representatives.”
Premier League chief Richard Scudamore last month said the handshakes, introduced in 2004, would remain part of the game.
“It’s not a handshake that says everybody loves everybody else,” Scudamore said. It’s a handshake that says ‘whatever crap’s gone on before now and whatever crap will go on after this game is over, for the next 90 minutes, let’s just play a game of football’.
“It’s nothing more symbolic than that, which is why in our view, they should continue — period.”
Meanwhile, Terry will be allowed to lift the trophy if the Blues win next month’s UEFA Champions League Final, despite him being banned from playing in the game.
Terry was sent off after recklessly kneeing Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez in the back before his Chelsea teammates staged a remarkable recovery to knock out the defending champion in the semi-finals.
He later apologised to Chelsea supporters for his actions, which have left the team with a defensive crisis ahead of the final against Bayern Munich on May 19. Though he will be allowed to enter the locker room on the night, Terry will be banned from taking a seat on the bench at the Allianz Arena.
But UEFA confirmed Thursday that, contrary to doubts in the wake of his dismissal, he will be allowed to receive the cup alongside stand-in captain Frank Lampard should Chelsea defeat the German side in its home stadium.
The full length of his suspension will be decided by a UEFA disciplinary panel almost two weeks after the final.
Buford Balony says: Why is Terry treated so differently to everyone else? The guy is a total wanker who only cares about himself. I hope Ferdinand punches him in the face one day.