Football fan denies racially abusing Rio Ferdinand by making monkey gestures as he worked as BT Sport pundit for televised game between Man Utd and Wolves
- Jamie Arnold, 31, is accused of doing a monkey impression and shouting slurs
- He denies racially abusing ex-England and Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand
- Arnold has a trial date set for August 26 at Wolverhampton Crown Court
Jamie Arnold, 31, is accused of doing a monkey impression and shouting racial slurs towards the former defender while he was working as a pundit for BT Sports.
He was charged with using racist words and gestures during the fixture between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United on May 23.
The game was the first time Wolves’ Molineux ground had hosted fans in more than a year following the pandemic lockdown.
Arnold was arrested during the game and is also accused of making homophobic comments towards the match referee.
Today Arnold, of Stone, Staffs., appeared before JPs sitting at Dudley Magistrates Court.
Jamie Arnold from Norton Bridge in Staffordshire, leaving Dudley Magistrates Court today
Rio Ferdinand at the match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United
Prosecutor, Mark Cooper, said: ‘On the day in question Rio Ferdinand was working as a commentator for television.
‘It is said that the defendant made monkey chants, as well as shouting obscenities towards Rio Ferdinand.’
Wearing a navy suit, Arnold spoke only to enter his not guilty pleas and confirm his name and date of birth, before the case was adjourned.
He was granted unconditional bail and will appear again at the same court on August 6 while a trial date was set for August 26 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
The match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at Molineux
Ferdinand had tweeted about an incident during the game, which United won 2-1 thanks to goals from Anthony Elanga and Juan Mata.
He wrote: ‘The last couple weeks, it’s been unreal to see fans back.
‘However, to the Wolves fan who has just been thrown out for doing a monkey chant at me, you need to be dismissed from football and educated.
‘Come meet me and I will help you understand what it feels like to be racially abused!’
West Midlands Police said they charged Arnold following an investigation by Pc Stuart Ward who is UK’s first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit.
A force spokesperson added: ‘He is at the forefront of our unit’s ongoing work to stamp out any abuse against footballers and fans.’