A man accused of racially abusing Rio Ferdinand at a football match has plead not guilty.
Jamie Arnold, 31, from Stone, Staffordshire, appeared at Dudley Magistrates’ Court accused of using racist words and gestures towards the former England international during Manchester United’s match with Wolverhampton Wanderers on May 23.
Arnold was also charged with making homophobic comments after being arrested at the game, the first since fans returned to Molineux since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After pleading not guilty, he will appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court in August.
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.
Wolves released a statement at the time saying they were “deeply sorry” for the incident.
Ferdinand’s tweet at the time said: “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!”
He later discussed the incident on BT Sport after the match had concluded.
“It’s pleasing and refreshing that it’s been taken so seriously but I’d love to meet up with the fella and educate him a little bit” he said.
“Punishing people without education isn’t the way forward.”