Thursday, 23 Sep 2021

Football fan denies racially abusing Rio Ferdinand

A football fan has denied racially abusing former England defender Rio Ferdinand.

Jamie Arnold is accused of using racist words and gestures towards Ferdinand during the Premier League match between Wolves and Manchester United on May 23.

The 31-year-old, from Stone, Staffordshire, is also charged with making homophobic comments towards the match referee.

It was the first time fans had returned to Molineux Stadium since the start of the coronavirus pandemic after restrictions were eased.

Ferdinand, who was working as a pundit for BT Sport at the match, tweeted during the second half to say he had been abused by a supporter.

On Thursday, Arnold appeared at Dudley Magistrates’ Court and pleaded not guilty to causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

Wearing a dark grey suit jacket and a black T-shirt, the defendant spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address and to enter his pleas during the short hearing.

Magistrates granted Arnold unconditional bail to appear at the same court on August 6.

A trial date was also set for August 26 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

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