SET TO MEET ON SATURDAY: John Terry (left) and Anton Ferdinand
ANTON FERDINAND will ask Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes for advice as to whether he should accept a handshake from John Terry.
It was suggested earlier this week that QPR officials would urge the 26-year-old to shake hands with the England captain, who is accused of racially abusing Ferdinand during the Premier League derby on October 23, in order to diffuse tensions in the FA Cup fourth round clash at Loftus Road on Saturday.
However, reports today said that the club would allow the defender to make his own decision. According to the Telegraph, Ferdinand is caught in two minds: he doesn’t want to inflame the situation but at the same time, he feels uneasy acknowledging Terry given the nature of the allegations.
It is believed that Ferdinand will meet with the club’s Malaysian owner today to discuss the situation. Fernandes is unlikely to put him under any pressure but as he is keen for the game to go ahead without any problems, he may suggest that a traditional pre-match hand shake is the best solution.
Terry, charged with a racially aggravated public order offence, is due to stand trial on Tuesday. However, the Telegraph reports that he will not appear in person for the preliminary hearing of the case next week. Instead a legal team will offer a not guilty plea on his behalf and the case will be heard by a magistrate rather than a jury.
Yesterday, QPR and Chelsea issued a joint statement ahead of the potentially explosive clash which is a noon kick-off on police advice. They warned that any fans heard to be using discriminatory or inflammatory language will have ‘the strongest possible action taken against them’.