Belfast Telegraph

Hughes rejects guard of honour idea

Mark Hughes snubbed a Premier League suggestion for QPR to form a guard of honour for Chelsea on Sunday as an alternative to the cancelled pre-match handshake, he has revealed.

The Premier League bowed to pressure to abandon the handshake ritual on Thursday night, ahead of this weekend's west London derby at Stamford Bridge to avoid any chance of it affecting Blues captain John Terry's upcoming racism trial.

And Hughes admitted his surprise at the guard of honour idea, saying: "They were looking for solutions for the game at the weekend and the Premier League were throwing things out there and said at one point that one alternative would be to form a guard of honour and clap Chelsea onto the pitch, and I'm thinking there is absolutely no chance of that happening."

Sunday's match will be Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand's first trip to the home of his side's arch-rivals since October's reverse fixture, after which allegations emerged he had been racially abused by Terry, something Terry categorically denies.

Hughes added: "That is where we were getting to, there were discussions going on, that was the one that pricked my ears up. That is the only one I was told, so there you go."

The Premier League later denied the suggestion had been made, with a Premier League spokesman saying: "It was never under consideration. The board would never have suggested or agreed to it."

Hughes believes the league should look at whether the handshake ritual should exist at all going forward.

"It needs to be on the agenda," he said.

"The Premier League need to clarify their position on it and make sure it is there for the right reasons. I said that last time you have to understand the thinking behind it - it is all very credible and a good idea to have that put forward but the reality of it means it can sometimes be compromised.

"Unfortunately, it is becoming a negative and, if it continues to be, it has to be stopped. I think sometimes it is an irritation - I don't think there is any real desire to do it."


From Belfast Telegraph