A football supporter has been found guilty of racially abusing Rio Ferdinand. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has stated that Jamie Arnold, 33, directed “derogatory remarks and hand gestures” towards Ferdinand while he was working as a pundit for BT Sport, now TNT Sports, during the Wolves versus Manchester United match in May 2021. Arnold denied the racially aggravated public order offence but was unanimously found guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court after a two-day trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8.
Alistair Redford, the Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, expressed, “Arnold made despicable racist gestures towards a victim who was just trying to do his job. I would like to express my gratitude to the stewards whose quick-thinking actions ensured they could identify and remove Arnold from the stadium that day, as well as to Mr Ferdinand and the witnesses who came forward to assist us in building the strongest possible case.”
Arnold’s gestures were captured on CCTV, and several witnesses also provided evidence. Kick It Out, an organization dedicated to combating discrimination in football, welcomed the guilty verdict. A spokesperson stated, “It is crucial that those who engage in discriminatory abuse are held accountable for their actions, and we hope this outcome sends a powerful message that racism has no place in our society. We commend the CPS and West Midlands Police for their efforts in securing justice in this case and urge authorities nationwide to treat similar incidents of discriminatory abuse with equal seriousness.”