Rio Ferdinand goes to court to face ‘racist’ football fan accused of monkey gestures at him as he worked as BT Sport pundit
- Jamie Arnold, 31, is accused of using racist words and gestures towards pundit
- The fan has also been charged with making homophobic comments at referee
- At earlier hearing Arnold pleaded not guilty to racially aggravated harassment
Rio Ferdinand arrived at court today as he prepared to face a ‘racist’ fan accused of making monkey gestures at him during a game.
Jamie Arnold, 31, is accused of using racist words and gestures towards the former England defender at the match between Wolves and Manchester United on May 23.
The Wolves supporter has also been charged with making homophobic comments towards the referee.
Rio Ferdinand arriving at court today (left). Pictured right: Jamie Arnold, 31, who is accused of racially abusing him
Ferdinand was escorted by a policeman as he walked into Wolverhampton Crown Court this morning.
The alleged abuse happened when Ferdinand was covering the Premier League match as a TV pundit for BT Sport.
At a hearing in July, Arnold pleaded not guilty to causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.
The alleged abuse occurred at Wolves’ home ground Molineux – at the first game where a reduced number of supporters were allowed in the ground following the easing of Covid restrictions.
An investigation was led by PC Stuart Ward, who was appointed the UK’s first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit.
Arnold has also been charged with making homophobic comments towards the referee
Ferdinand tweeted after the game: ‘Fortunately I’ve just had a tweet come through from West Midlands Police saying that a fan has been arrested and he’s currently in custody.
‘It says they take racism very seriously which is pleasing to see and refreshing. But listen, I’d love to meet up with the fella and just educate him a little bit.
‘I think that’s part of the problem, punishing people without education isn’t the way forward and it’s disappointing.
‘People have waited all these months, over a year to get back in the stadium and then you come in with ignorance like that.
‘It was uncalled for, not needed, not warranted at all. Disappointing really. But listen, that’s just a very small minority in the stand that was doing it. We were having banter with the fans and stuff.
It came after England players were subjected to a barrage of racist abuse after the Euro 2020 final.