LONDON – The English Premier League has been forced to scrap team handshakes before Sunday’s match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers due to John Terry’s looming racism trial.

The Chelsea captain is accused of hurling insults at QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, who is black, during their EPL encounter in October.

Terry faces a criminal trial in July from the incident that led to him being stripped of the England captaincy ahead of the European Championship.

Ferdinand was spared having to decide whether to shake Terry’s hand before an FA Cup match in January after the Football Association allowed the sides to forgo the traditional ritual.

The EPL wanted to retain the prematch handshakes on Sunday and stressed that in “all normal circumstances it must be observed.”

But legal advice led to the greetings being completely scrapped at the Stamford Bridge match.

“After discussions with both Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers about the potential and specific legal context in relation to John Terry and Anton Ferdinand the decision has been taken to suspend the handshake convention for Sunday’s match,” the league said in a statement.