The English Premier League authorities have announced that the pre-match handshakes before the match must take place and will not tolerate any kind of shenanigans from the three players in question.
Controversy has surrounded them ever since the racism trial, where John Terry was accused of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. The ex-England captain was proven innocent and Ashley Cole who stood witness for his team-mate was accused of being a “choc – ice” when Rio Ferdinand re tweeted a tweet from one of his fans. Choc ice is a derogatory word for someone who’s black on the outside but white in the inside.
Speculation was high that the QPR players were ready to snub both the Chelsea players but the Premier League was having none of that:
“There has been dialogue between the Premier League, Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea in relation to tomorrow’s match between the two clubs,’ read a statement released by the Premier League.
“All parties understand and acknowledge that the pre-match handshake will go ahead as part of the normal pre-match activity.”
Roberto Di Matteo spoke about Terry and Cole’s race to fitness at a packed press conference in Cobham.
“They’ve recovered, had a couple of days training and we expect them to be available for tomorrow,” Di Matteo said.
“We’re going to respect the rules and the protocol that is in place from the Premier League and set a positive standard to the millions of people watching across the world.’
When queried on the handshake he added, “We’ll go ahead with it, yes.”
Mark Hughes had much to say about the whole debacle in his pre-match press conference.
“There’s a lot of debate every time we have a game against Chelsea,” Hughes said.
“I’ve got my own views on the handshake and I raised those at Premier League level even before this season started. I don’t want to go into that.
“We’ll be guided by the Premier League and will respect the handshake if we’re told that’s what needs to happen.
I’m conscious of the fact that every time we play Chelsea the issue of the handshake clouds everybody’s mind and the focus is taken away from a great Premier League game.’It’s not my decision to make. We’re governed by the Premier League and if we’re told it will go ahead, then we will do that.’We haven’t spoken to them but I imagine they’ll insist the handshake goes ahead, which isn’t a problem.
“We’ve had a discussion with the players but that’s between myself and them. We don’t have to broadcast that,” Hughes said.
When asked whether Anton will snub Terry, he said,
“We’ll have to wait and see (if Ferdinand shakes Terry’s hand). Everybody has a mind of their own and will make a personal decision.
“It’s unfortunate that they’re in a situation where it’s in the public domain. Anton is fine, there’s no problem with him.”