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Team handshakes axed amid race row

John Terry and Anton Ferdinand were spared an awkward moment before the match between QPR and Chelsea after the Football Association (FA) allowed the team handshake to be cancelled.

A race row was ignited the last time the west London rivals played, in October last year, when Terry was alleged to have made a racist slur at Ferdinand.

Tensions were raised even higher ahead of the Fourth Round FA Cup clash at Loftus Road after the Rangers defender was sent a bullet-like item in the post.

Tight security surrounded the midday game as fans underwent full searches before entering the west London stadium.

Stewards were seen using handheld metal detectors, with some donning protective goggles, while there was a heavier than usual police presence.

On the pitch the focus was on whether Ferdinand would snub Terry in the pre-match handshake, as Manchester City's Wayne Bridge did following an alleged affair between the Chelsea star and Bridge's ex-partner Vanessa Perroncel. But at the request of both teams the customary greeting was called off.

Terry is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday to answer the charge of racially abusing Ferdinand, the brother of England defender Rio. The Chelsea captain has strenuously denied the claim, and is expected to enter a not guilty plea.

Speaking after his side lost 1-0 following a controversial penalty, QPR manager Mark Hughes confirmed ammunition was sent to Ferdinand at the club's training ground.

He said: "He was sent a letter with some bullet. I wouldn't call it a bullet, I think a pellet or something like that."

During the game, in which Terry wore a Respect armband, the Chelsea star was booed every time he touched the ball and was also the subject of numerous abusive taunts from the home fans. Scotland Yard said there were no arrests around the match.


From Belfast Telegraph