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Chelsea, QPR prepare for tense rivalry in wake of racism charge

September 14, 2012|By Dan Loumena
  • Anton Ferdinand, left, of Queens Park Rangers and John Terry of Chelsea will meet in an English Premier League game on Saturday.
Anton Ferdinand, left, of Queens Park Rangers and John Terry of Chelsea… (Getty Images )

Chelsea is reportedly in negotiations with West London rival Queens Park Rangers over protocol for pregame matters, including the obligatory handshake between all team members, in the wake of Chelsea defender John Terry's racial abuse trial over a heated exchange he had last season with QPR's Anton Ferdinand, who is black.

The two teams meet Saturday in an English Premier League game. Chelsea is currently atop the EPL standings with three consecutive wins to open the season. QPR is near the bottom of the 20-team standings with only one point for a draw, but it did defeat Chelsea, 1-0, in an FA Cup game earlier this year.

Terry, who is white, was acquitted of the racial abuse charge stemming from the onfield argument. Chelsea teammate and fellow defender Ashley Cole, who is black, testified on his behalf, contributing to the drama that might unfold Saturday, when Ferdinand could snub his opponents by refusing to shake hands.

It wouldn't be the first time a high-profile player has snubbed an EPL foe during pregame handshakes: Luis Suarez of Liverpool refused the hand of Manchester United's Patrice Evra before a game last February.

Chelsea has gone so far as to release a statement, titled "The Right Rivalry," reminding fans on both sides to be respectful of one another:

"Last January's FA Cup match at QPR and the meeting between the sides in April at Stamford Bridge were good examples of passionate and vocal rivalry with the fans of both clubs recognizing that abuse and discrimination have no place in a football stadium, nor anywhere else in society.

"Chelsea Football Club wishes to see the level of respect at those games continued throughout this campaign, as it has been in our opening matches.

"Both Chelsea and QPR will work together with the police to ensure that anyone using discriminatory or inflammatory language on Saturday is identified, and that the strongest possible action is taken against them."

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