A football fan has been convicted of racially abusing Rio Ferdinand at a Premier League match.
Jamie Arnold hurled racist remarks and made hand gestures at the ex-England defender who was working as a pundit for BT Sport [now TNT Sports] at the Wolves v Manchester United clash in May 2021. The Crown Prosecution Service said he was caught making racist gestures on CCTV.
The 33-year-old had denied a racially aggravated public order offence but was unanimously convicted yesterday after a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court. He will be sentenced on December 8.
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Arnold, of Stone, Staffs, was previously banned from games for three years after being found guilty of homophobic abuse and making gestures that mimicked disability during the same game.
Opening up about the case on X, Ferdinand wrote: "I’ve been involved in a court case at Wolverhampton since May 2021, today the guy who racially abused me has been found guilty and will now have to face consequences for his actions. Racism will only be eradicated when we all work together as a society!
"The prosecution wouldn’t have been possible without all the help/support from the witnesses, @Wolves fans and staff that came forward to testify in court," he added.
Wolves later released a statement, which read: "We welcome the verdict in this case and praise the thorough and tireless work from so many to ensure that justice has been done. We are very thankful to the supporters, security staff and stewards, who gave evidence during the trial and praise their bravery and commitment to challenging and reporting discriminatory behaviour.
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"Finally, we send our thanks to Rio Ferdinand for his cooperation and patience throughout the legal process, and his commitment to attending court and providing evidence. We are very sorry that he had to experience this type of abuse at the home of Wolves."
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