Hughes waits on handshake call
Rangers chief will respect pre-match ritual if ordered to
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo. Last Updated: September 14, 2012 4:48pm
QPR boss Mark Hughes will let the Premier League decide if the pre-match handshake should go ahead before the clash with Chelsea.
Anton Ferdinand and John Terry, who has recovered from his ankle injury, will meet for the first time since the Chelsea captain's race trial in July.
Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October, but remains the subject of a Football Association investigation over charges that he denies.
Chelsea chief Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed Terry and team-mate Ashley Cole - who was a character witness for Terry during his trial, are set to feature at Loftus Road and will take part in the pre-match handshakes before the game.
Hughes is keeping his own thoughts on the handshake debate close to his chest and will let the Premier League make the decision on whether or not the ritual should go ahead this weekend.
"There's a lot of debate every time we have a game against Chelsea," said Hughes. "I have got my own views on the handshake and I've raised them before at Premier League level even before the season started so I don't really need to go into that.
"Obviously we will be guided by the Premier League and we will respect the handshake if that's what we're told needs to happen.
"Apart from that I don't want to go into any depths to it because we have got a really important game and I am conscious of the fact that almost always when we go up against Chelsea the issue of the handshake clouds everybody's mind and the focus is taken away from a game which on paper is a great Premier League game and I think the focus should be put back on that rather than on a handshake before the game.
"It's not my decision to make. We're governed by the Premier League and if we're told it will go ahead, then we will do that.
"Obviously we will be guided by the Premier League and we will respect the handshake if that's what we're told needs to happen."
Mark Hughes Quotes of the week
"We haven't spoken to them but I imagine they'll insist the handshake goes ahead, which isn't a problem."
Hughes held talks with his squad over the issue but refused to reveal what was said.
Ferdinand is reported to also be considering snubbing Cole after the Chelsea left-back testified as a character witness for Terry.
"We've had a discussion with the players but that's between myself and them. We don't have to broadcast that," added Hughes.
"Everybody has a mind of their own and will make a personal decision.
"It's unfortunate that they're in a situation where it's in the public domain, but that's where we are with it."
Asked if the whole issue was affecting Ferdinand, Hughes added: "Anton is fine, there's no problem with him."