Terry faces handshake snub from Rio ahead of Stamford Bridge clash
Rio Ferdinand will decide this week whether to shake John Terry’s hand on Sunday when Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge, or subject the England captain to a second embarrassing snub in successive weekends.
The pre-match Respect parade was abandoned by the FA on Saturday when Queens Park Rangers players refused to shake Terry’s hand and the Chelsea captain could face a potentially more damaging situation before next weekend’s Barclays Premier League showdown.
Showdown: Terry and Ferdinand face each other next weekend
Terry is charged with racially abusing Rio’s brother Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s defeat at QPR in October. He denies the charge and the case will open at West London Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Should Ferdinand stand by his brother and refuse to shake Terry’s hand, it will have enormous ramifications for England’s Euro 2012 campaign and squad harmony. If the United defender can dispel doubts about his long-term fitness, the pair would still be national manager Fabio Capello’s first-choice centre half pairing at the tournament unless there is significant friction between them.
Saga: QPR players refused to shake Terry's hand on Saturday
On Saturday, Chelsea won 1-0 at Loftus Road in the FA Cup fourth round but preparations for the game were dominated by the feud which has festered during the three months since the teams last met.
Rangers players held an impromptu meeting the night before the game and made it clear they did not want to shake hands with the Chelsea captain in a show of support for their team-mate.
To avoid Terry’s public humiliation, the FA decided it would be better to scrap the pre-match niceties, designed to encourage sporting behaviour.
Court case: Terry is accused of racially abusing Rio's brother Anton (right)
On the eve of the game, Andre Villas-Boas urged Anton Ferdinand to shake hands for the good of the game but afterwards admitted it had been ‘a wise decision’ to drop the usual ritual.
The Rangers defender had received death threats ahead of the game and QPR manager Mark Hughes confirmed one of these had included a package he described as ‘a pellet, or something like that’ which had been posted to the club.