The now ridiculous ritual of the pre-match handshake is back on the Respect agenda as Anton Ferdinand and Queens Park Rangers face John Terry and Chelsea on Saturday.
Last season it became a point of high farce as it was abandoned in both an FA Cup and league match between the same clubs, with the issue also clouding Manchester United’s game against Liverpool in February.
Luis Suarez decided to refuse Manchester United’s Patrice Evra’s hand after serving an eight-game ban for racially insulting the Frenchman.
It appears the handshake will be raising its head every few weeks in the Premier League with Anton’s brother Rio also unlikely to be exchanging pleasantries with fellow professionals he feels have wronged his brother.
Terry was charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during the Barclays Premier League match between QPR and Chelsea on October 23 last year.
Chelsea captain Terry, who was stripped of the England armband by the FA before his trial, was acquitted at Westminster Magistrates Court on July 13 but is now facing an FA investigation into the comments he aimed at Anton Ferdinand on the pitch.
Anton Ferdinand and Terry come face to face for the first time since the court battle with Ashley Cole also now part of the problem. Cole’s decision to support Terry’s defence surprised Anton Ferdinand because he believed the pair were friends.
Anton Ferdinand will also snub Cole before Saturday’s game at Loftus Road, with both Ferdinands believing they were betrayed by the England full-back.
QPR manager Mark Hughes has held talks with Anton Ferdinand to discuss the situation ahead of a derby where tensions have now been ratcheted up several notches, with high level discussions also taking place between the two clubs.
It appears the simple resolution would be to abandon the handshake – again – but the Premier League are determined it will go ahead on Saturday.
The fear from the football authorities are that if they start abandoning the pre-match process on a regular basis then it may spell its demise.
If so then would that be such a bad thing?
Most players only carry out the duty only because they have to and now it appears its main use is one of protest.
The Premier League has decided the good still outweighs the bad despite officials being acutely aware that the routine, introduced in 2008 as a gesture of goodwill, may be turned into something very different.
Tags: Anton Ferdinand, Chelsea, John Terry, Luis Suarez, Patrice Evra, Queens Park Rangers, RESPECT, Rio Ferdinand