Anton Ferdinand-John Terry: pre-match handshake cancelled by FA

The Football Association has confirmed it cancelled the handshake before the FA Cup fourth-round tie between QPR and Chelsea "to defuse further tensions".

QPR defender Anton Ferdinand was expected to refuse to shake hands with Chelsea captain John Terry before Saturday's game - which the Blues won.

Terry is alleged to have used racist language towards Ferdinand during Chelsea's 1-0 defeat in October.

The decision to forgo handshakes was taken in consultation with the clubs.

"Following discussions on Friday evening and Saturday morning involving senior officials from QPR, Chelsea and the FA, it has been agreed there will not be the usual team handshake before today's FA Cup [...] tie at Loftus Road," an FA statement read.

Analysis

"[Cancelling the handshake] has nipped it in the bud. Everyone was focused on it, as we know. I saw all the cameramen checking in today, and there are more photographers here than ever before. I think that they (the FA and the match officials) got wind that Anton Ferdinand was not going to shake John Terry's hand, and they have cancelled it."

"The FA agreed to the request by both clubs in an attempt to further defuse tensions before the match."

QPR manager Mark Hughes suggested after game that the pre-match handshake may have been cancelled because more than one of his players were considering snubbing Terry.

Hughes revealed he held a meeting with his players on Friday evening at which some of them hinted they would be prepared to join Ferdinand in refusing to shake Terry's hand.

"With the group I have got I know they wanted to support their team-mate and the situation in the end was to take it out of the equation and not to have the issue," said Hughes.

Terry was given a hostile reception by the Loftus Road crowd as he warmed up, and again as he walked on to the pitch.

Saturday was the first time the two sides had met since Terry was charged with racially abusing Ferdinand during October's Premier League game between the two clubs.

Terry has since been charged with racially abusing the QPR defender and is expected to enter a not guilty plea at Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday, having strenuously denied the charge against him.

The case was switched from west London at the request of the chief magistrate because of the profile of the case. It is understood the England captain will not be attending the hearing.

In the build-up to the game during the week, police announced they were investigating a "malicious communication" - reportedly containing a bullet - that had been sent to Queens Park Rangers' training ground.

The Met would not reveal the letter's contents or the intended recipient but Hughes confirmed after the match that a bullet-like item had been sent to Ferdinand.

"He was sent a letter with some bullet," he said after the FA Cup fourth-round tie that Chelsea won 1-0.

"I wouldn't call it a bullet, I think a pellet or something like that.

"Obviously we gave it straight to the police and let them deal with it and we took direction from them."

Asked what the letter said, Hughes added: "I won't divulge that.

"I think that issue was discussed at great length and it was right to be concerned about the contents of the letter.

"Obviously I had an opportunity to read it and it was not particularly nice, as I am sure you can imagine."