QPR and Chelsea appeal for calm ahead of FA Cup clash
Chelsea and QPR today warned their supporters that "abuse and discrimination has no place in football or society" ahead of their FA Cup clash on Saturday.
The game will be the first time Chelsea captain John Terry and QPR defender Anton Ferdinand have faced each other since the Blues' 1-0 defeat in October.
Terry has been charged with racially abusing Ferdinand during the game and will appear in court on February 1. He has denied the charge.
There has been speculation around whether the pair will shake hands before the game.
However the two clubs today moved to show a united front ahead of the tie and asked for the game to be a "celebration of football".
Bruce Buck, chairman of Chelsea, and Tony Fernandes, his QPR counterpart, said in the statement: "We have discussed the issues surrounding this weekend's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Loftus Road and we are both in total agreement that abuse and discrimination has no place in football or society.
"Both clubs enjoy fantastic support. However, we would remind fans that while we want to hear their passion, it's a fact that hatred and abuse is not what being a fan of Chelsea or QPR is about.
"The clubs will work together with the police to ensure that anyone using discriminatory or inflammatory language is identified and that the strongest possible action is taken against them."
The statement continued: "A local derby is always a special occasion and this weekend's FA Cup tie is a unique opportunity to show the world that hatred has no place in our game, our clubs, or our communities.
"We would urge fans witnessing any form of abuse to report it to a matchday steward or text confidentially on 07557 435421.
"Let's make Saturday's match a celebration of football."
England captain Terry has denied allegations he racially abused Ferdinand during last October's game at Loftus Road and is due to appear before west London magistrates next week after being charged over the incident.
The match has been brought forward to a midday kick-off on the advice of police in a bid to minimise potential crowd problems, with both clubs keen to avoid any ill-feeling amongst fans.