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UK court jails man for racially abusing Rio Ferdinand

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UK court jails man for racially abusing Rio Ferdinand

A football fan has been jailed for six months for racially abusing former England footballer Rio Ferdinand.

Jamie Arnold made the racist gestures at Wolves’ Molineux stadium during a game against Manchester United in May 2021.

It was the first match to be held with fans inside the ground after the first Covid lockdown.

The 33-year-old, from Stone, Staffordshire, was convicted of racially aggravated public order last month.

In a victim statement read out at Wolverhampton Crown Court on his behalf, Mr Ferdinand said he was left distressed, distraught and devastated.

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He said he had experienced racist comments and gestures on the field but never while working as a pundit on TV.

“His abuse was unprovoked and completely unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Ferdinand added he believed Arnold needed to take responsibility for his actions.

“It is now 2021 and behaviour like this is completely unacceptable,” he added.

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Arnold was captured on CCTV making racist gestures to the former defender which several witnesses saw from the stands, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

The 33-year-old, of The Glebe in Norton Bridge, was ejected before being arrested, West Midlands Police said.

‘Deliberately targeted and deeply offensive’

Sentencing Arnold, Judge Rhona Campbell said he had brought shame on his city and football team.

“Wolverhampton Wanderers do not want a racist on their terraces,” she said.

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“They do not want you as a fan and this city does not tolerate racist behaviour in its midst.”

Judge Campbell described Arnold’s behaviour as more than puerile and offensive.

“It was deliberately targeted and deeply offensive, not just to Mr Ferdinand but to those around you,” she added.

The judge sentenced him to five months in jail for intentionally causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

She also activated part of a suspended sentence he was subject to at the time of the offence, increasing the total to six months.

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Arnold was told he must serve half of the term in custody before being released on licence, during which he would be subject to supervision for 12 months.

Arnold will not be allowed to attend any match at the Molineux stadium or any other football ground for seven years, Judge Campbell added.

 

BBC

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