Rio Ferdinand was repeatedly racially abused by Wolves fan at Premier League match, trial hears
Posted by  badge Boss on Aug 08
Rio Ferdinand was racially abused while working as a BT Sport pundit, a court has heard. (Photo: Getty)

Former footballer was repeatedly racially abused by a fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers during a Premier League match, a crown court trial has heard.

32-year-old Jamie Arnold from Stone in Staffordshire is charged with threatening and abusive behaviour in reference to events which occurred at Wolves’ home fixture against Ferdinand’s former club on 23 May last year.

Footage shown to the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday allegedly shows Arnold making a ‘monkey gesture’ towards Ferdinand, who was working as a television pundit for BT Sport at the match.

The fixture took place at the end of the 2020/21 season and was the first at Molineux to be played in front of a reduced number of fans after stadiums were closed to spectators due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Ferdinand was stood on the gantry above the Billy Wright Stand and was being given ‘a bit of stick’ by home fans, according to prosecutor Jason Aris.

‘Unfortunately, things became soured,’, Aris explained. ‘[Mr Arnold] was not there to behave, to watch the football match and enjoy the day. This defendant, we say, was engaging in unpleasant hand gestures, and jumping up and down,’ and he was ‘clearly trying to imitate a monkey’ towards Ferdinand. ‘Not only was it offensive, but also racist,’ Aris added.

Fans also heard Arnold refer to Ferdinand with a racial slur, Aris said, and the defendant had also used homophobic abuse about matchday referee Mike Dean.

Arnold denies causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress to Ferdinand by using threatening, abusive or insulting words, and claims he was making the monkey gesture towards his father who was standing next to him.

43-year-old Ferdinand made 81 international appearances for England between 1997 and 2011, and won 14 trophies during his time with Manchester United as well as playing for West Ham United, Bournemouth, Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers.

The trial continues.

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