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Terry shakes off storm

THE Premier League have suspended the pre-match handshake at Sunday's game between Chelsea and QPR due to the legal situation involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand.

Ferdinand's lawyers had advised him not to shake Terry's hand -- the first time the pair would have met in a Premier League match since the Chelsea captain was accused of racially abusing the QPR player in October.

But after taking legal advice, the Premier League have chosen to suspend the handshake convention.

A Premier League statement released last night read: "The Premier League position on the pre-match handshake convention remains consistent.

"In all normal circumstances it must be observed.

"However, after discussions with both Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers about the potential and specific legal context in relation to John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, the decision has been taken to suspend the handshake convention for Sunday's match."

Terry was charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence in December last year following the game.

The former England captain has vowed to fight "tooth and nail" to clear his name in his trial, which will begin on July 9.

The Football Association cancelled the pre-match handshake when the two clubs met in the FA Cup in January, but the Premier League had initially insisted the handshake between the two sides should go ahead this weekend.

That had been their policy when Liverpool met Manchester United following Luis Suarez's ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra -- when the Liverpool striker then caused a storm by snubbing the French defender.

The Premier League felt they had little option in relation to Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge after legal advice.

Ferdinand's lawyers had advised their client that to shake Terry's hand may prejudice the trial of the Chelsea centre-back, while Terry's legal team suggested it could also prejudice the trial if the QPR player refused to do so.

Ferdinand maintains he is in the right frame of mind to play despite the hostile atmosphere he and his team-mates will face in Sunday's game.

The Premier League insist the fair play ritual, which they introduced into the top flight in 2004, remains an important part of the game.