Express & Star

Read Rio Ferdinand's victim impact statement after Wolves fan jailed for racially abusing him

Rio Ferdinand's list of achievements is as long as it is impressive, Jamie Arnold's criminal record is a litany of shame and nastiness.


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The mixed race former England star has been in the public eye since he was teenager inspiring countless youngsters to aspire to greatness whereas Arnold has left distraught victims in his wake.

When Rio, who grew up in a council estate South London, was representing his Queen and Country at various World Cups, Arnold was making a nuisance of himself during various public order offences.

And when Rio was raising for charity in memory of his wife who died of cancer Arnold was distinguishing himself by abusing two emergency responders, which he was given a suspended sentence for.

When their two worlds collided in The Molineux in May 2021 by anyone's standards Rio was the success story and Arnold had lost at the game of life.

However, Arnold was able to ignore Rio's transfer records, England caps, Premier League medals and thriving businesses and concentrate on abusing him.

When Arnold racially abused the BT Pundit it was not his first display of spewing racial hate in public. In 2011 he was guilty of racially abusing a police officer. He told the custody officer he did "not want to be touched by anyone black and then proceeded to abuse other members of the team.

Sadly, Arnold's monkey gestures aimed at Rio was not the first racist abuse he has suffered from strangers. And it was no surprise Rio was happy to take a break from his globe-trotting to take the stand to get justice.

So when asked by West Midlands Police hate crime PC Stuart Ward if he would give evidence against Arnold, Rio courageously did so.

Then there were two mistrials - but eventually a jury convicted Arnold and Rio publicly thanked PC Ward for his support in a post to his millions of fans.

The former Leeds United and Manchester United star penned an emotional victim impact statement explaining it was the first time he had been abused as a pundit.

He said: "I was extremely distressed, distraught and devastated by this. As a ex-professional football player who has played all over the world representing my club and country I have unfortunately experienced racist comments and gestures whilst playing, however I have learnt to deal with these and have always been supported.

"However working on TV this is something I have never experienced as a pundit, to be inside a football stadium which was live on TV broadcast around the world makes me sad and angry that someone felt the need to do this to me, which is something I will never ever forget."

He added: "Although this incident occurred on Sunday I am constantly thinking about the incident, this is mainly because I was abused inside a football stadium during a live football game that I was involved in providing media coverage.

"Still to this day I do not know why I was abused at the Molineux on the 23rd May 2021, this abuse was unprovoked and completely unacceptable. I accept as an ex-professional football player there will be supporters who will voice opinions about me or whilst I am working on TV, what I don’t accept is that the opinions or gestures made about me or towards me should be abusive and racist where comments are made regarding the colour of my skin and my background. "

The male who abused me has showed a complete lack of respect for me, my family, Wolves FC and everyone associated to football. The male needs to understand how they made me feel and most importantly take responsibility for their actions. It is now 2021 and behaviour like this is completely unacceptable.

"I have worked extremely hard in my life to get to where I am in my career and never thought an incident like this would have such an impact on my life and on my career.

"I am pursuing this case to court because I strongly believe something needs to happen to eradicate racism not only from football but from all forms of society and therefore put my faith in the criminal justice system to ensure this happens."

Judge Rhona Campbell sentenced Arnold to six years in jail due to him being in the middle of a suspended sentence when he turned up that day and left his hateful mark on proceedings.

Last year Rio Ferdinand was appointed an O.B E for his work with disadvantaged children proving in modern Britain you can enter high society no matter what colour you are.

Whereas Arnold, as he begins his jail sentence, is learning the consequences of his actions.