Skip to main content

Handshake between Terry and Ferdinand canceled by Premier League

updated 6:15 PM EDT, Thu April 26, 2012
Chelsea's John Terry (left) is accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand (right).
Chelsea's John Terry (left) is accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand (right).
  • The Premier League dispense with pre-match handshakes for Chelsea v QPR match
  • Chelsea's John Terry on charges of using racist language at QPR's Anton Ferdinand
  • Incident alleged to have taken place during Premier League game in October
  • Terry denies the charges and has since been stripped of the England captaincy

(CNN) -- The English Premier League has decided to dispense with the traditional pre-match handshakes before Sunday's clash between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers due to the legal case involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand.

Chelsea captain Terry is accused of racially abusing QPR defender Ferdinand during a match between the two teams at Loftus Road back in October.

At a preliminary hearing in February, Terry's lawyer entered a not guilty plea and the judge decided to adjourn the case until July 9 -- after the Euro 2012 finals.

After the case was put back, Terry was stripped of the England captaincy, triggering the turn of events that eventually led to Fabio Capello's resignation as coach.

'It's Not Black & White'
Football pioneer on racist abuse
Soccer's 'Three Degrees'

But ahead of the two players coming face-to-face at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium, the Premier League has decided to abandon their usual pre-match ritual, given the legal complexities involved.

A statement on their official website read: "The Premier League position on the pre-match handshake convention remains consistent. 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."

When the teams met in the English FA Cup in January, the Football Association dispensed with the pre-match handshake to "diffuse further tensions."

The handshake ritual caused huge controversy earlier in the Premier League season when Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez refused to shake the hand of Manchester United's French defender Patrice Evra.

This was after Suarez had been banned for eight games by the Football Association after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra in an earlier match.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson called Suarez a "disgrace" after the game. The striker later apologized, as did his club.

Terry has remained Chelsea captain and was part of the side that made it into the European Champions League final at the expense of Barcelona on Tuesday, though he was sent off for an off the ball incident and will miss the final against Bayern Munich on May 19.

Part of complete coverage on
NN World Sport examines why racism continues to be a problem in football and what is being done to tackle discrimination.
updated 12:28 PM EST, Wed February 22, 2012
CNN investigates the problem of racism in football in "World Sport Presents: It's Not Black & White."
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri February 24, 2012
CNN profiles three men who helped bring black footballers to prominence in England in the late 1970s.
updated 11:24 AM EST, Fri February 24, 2012
Clyde Best talks about his time as a pioneer black player in England for CNN's documentary on racism in football.
updated 5:03 AM EST, Fri January 6, 2012
The head of a football anti-racism group has called for the English Football Association to charge Liverpool with bringing the game into disrepute.
updated 8:16 AM EST, Sun January 1, 2012
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been accused of giving "unreliable" and "inconsistent" evidence to the disciplinary panel which banned him.
updated 11:20 AM EST, Thu November 17, 2011
A racially-charged word with many meanings may be at the root of a dispute between two sports rivals that reaches far beyond the soccer field, analysts say.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Thu February 23, 2012
Modern football is a melting pot of cultures, as players from a variety of ethnic backgrounds share top billing as superstars. That wasn't always the case.
updated 4:29 PM EST, Wed December 21, 2011
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez "needs education" after continuing to protest his innocence despite being punished for racial abuse, insists a former English player.
CNN's Pedro Pinto considers whether racism is a problem in world football and how it can be tackled.
updated 9:51 AM EST, Fri November 18, 2011
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told CNN he believes there is no on-field racism in football and that players who think they have been abused should simply say "this is a game."
updated 1:16 PM EST, Thu November 17, 2011
Former England and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell weighs in on Sepp Blatter's recent comments on racism in football.
updated 9:07 AM EST, Fri November 18, 2011
FIFA President Sepp Blatter on past corruption scandals, reforms, Brazil's World Cup preparations and racism in football.
updated 11:03 AM EST, Fri November 25, 2011
Edgar Davids speaks with CNN's Alex Thomas about Champions League clashes and his experience with racism in the sport.