The Premier League has confirmed there will be no pre-match hand shakes between Chelsea and QPR in an attempt to quell tensions in the build up to the fixture at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
The two teams have not met in the Premier League since John Terry was accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand when the two rivals met at Loftus Road back in October, although Chelsea beat the Hoops 1-0 in the FA Cup in January.
Terry will stand trial in July over the charges, which he denies, and with Ferdinand’s lawyers instructing him not to shake the hand of the Chelsea captain, the Premier League have moved to ensure there is no controversy ahead of the game by removing the pre-match ritual altogether.
A Premier League statement read: "The Premier League position on the pre-match handshake convention remains consistent.
“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."
A similar incident between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra sparked controversy earlier this year, with the Liverpool forward refusing to shake Evra’s hand having been accused, and subsequently being found guilty of racially abusing the Frenchman.
The FA removed the pre-match handshakes before their FA Cup meeting, however the Premier League had initially planned for them to go ahead as usual.
Reports suggested the Premier League had been forced to change their minds after receiving advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, who were reportedly concerned that any incident involving the pre-match handshakes could prejudice Terry’s trial.
However the CPS deny they had any involvement in the decision ahead of the match on Sunday, with a statement on their website reading: “The CPS has not given any such advice to the footballers or their legal representatives.
“The media is reminded that the case involving Terry has yet to be heard and proceedings are still active."