Staffordshire man charged with racially abusing Rio Ferdinand at Molineux
A Staffordshire man has been charged with racially abusing Rio Ferdinand when fans returned to Molineux for the first in over a year.
Jamie Arnold is accused of saying racist words and making gestures towards the football commentator just before half time during the match between Wolves and Manchester United on May 23.
The 31-year-old, from Stone, has also been charged with making homophobic comments.
He will appear at Dudley Magistrates Court on Thursday, July 29.
The incident took place during the first game where a reduced number of supporters were allowed into Molineux following the easing of Covid lockdown restrictions – and also marked head coach Nuno Espirito Santo’s final game.
At the time, taking to Twitter, former England international player Ferdinand 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!”
A statement on Wolves’ Twitter account, in response to Rio added: “We are deeply sorry Rio. This person does not represent our club, our supporters or our values.
“We can confirm that this individual has been arrested by West Midlands Police, who we will support to ensure that the strongest action is taken, including a lifetime ban from our club.”
The investigation into the incident was led by PC Stuart Ward who was appointed the UK’s first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit.
He is at the forefront of the West Midlands Police unit’s ongoing work to stamp out any abuse against footballers and fans.