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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).
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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.

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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.

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