League to rule on handshakes

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QPR and Chelsea would need to seek permission if they want to cancel the pre-match handshake when the sides next meet in April, the Premier League has confirmed.

Anton Ferdinand was spared having to shake John Terry’s hand in Saturday’s FA Cup clash at Loftus Road after the Football Association gave their blessing to a request for the entire ritual to be abandoned. Rangers boss Mark Hughes admitted the FA may have been contacted by both clubs after some of his players indicated they would join Ferdinand in snubbing Terry at Loftus Road.

Ferdinand reportedly spent the week agonising over whether to accept the hand of Terry, who has been charged with racially abusing his fellow defender during October’s league game. Terry, who denies the charge, is expected to instruct his legal team to enter a not-guilty plea when the court case into the matter begins on Wednesday. A trial date will then be set, which could be weeks or even months later, meaning the matter could remain unresolved until after Chelsea host QPR in the Barclays Premier League a fortnight before the end of the season.

The position of Rangers players is unlikely to change in the interim, meaning another potential dilemma for all involved.

A Premier League spokesman said both clubs would need to seek approval for the handshake to be cancelled again.

Meanwhile, the FA are unlikely to punish QPR after a spectator threw the match ball at the back of Ashley Cole during Chelsea’s 1-0 win yesterday.

Referee Mike Dean discussed the incident with a Loftus Road steward and could include it in his official report but it is doubtful Rangers will be sanctioned. That was a minor flashpoint in what was otherwise a game virtually devoid of the kind of trouble which marred October’s clash.

Police reported no arrests, while Chelsea fans refrained from chants aimed at Ferdinand, amid warnings of ejection and a stadium ban.

Terry himself was subject to merciless booing and tasteless taunts but wisely refused to react.

That left the Blues’ matchwinning penalty as the only game-related controversy, with Daniel Sturridge appearing to make the most of the slightest contact from Clint Hill. QPR captain Joey Barton tweeted: “Very, very soft! Sturridge stepping on that landmine does not help the ref either.

“This is why referees should be allowed to look at penalty and straight red card decisions, during the game. We’re out the cup now #techneeded.”