Fan jailed after racially abusing Rio Ferdinand

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A football fan has been jailed after racially abusing TV pundit Rio Ferdinand at a Premier League game at Molineux.

Jamie Arnold was last month convicted of making racist gestures towards the former England defender.

It followed a thorough investigation led by West Midlands Police's dedicated football hate crime officer, PC Stuart Ward, following the appalling actions at the Wolves v Manchester United fixture in May 2021.

The 33-year-old from Stone, Staffordshire, was found guilty of racially aggravated public order after a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Arnold was previously banned from games for three years after being found guilty of hurling homophobic abuse and making gestures which mimicked disability during the same game.

He was jailed for six months, and given a seven year football banning order, preventing him from attending any football match anywhere in the UK. PC Ward - who was appointed the UK's first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit - said:

"There is no place for discrimination within football, and society in general, and Arnold has quite rightly lost his freedom. His behaviour was offensive, and unacceptable, and others in the ground were just as appalled as I was by his actions. 

"We were grateful to Rio for assisting our investigation and supporters who witnessed what happened and were willing to provide statements. It's through this evidence we were able to ensure we could convict Arnold. 

"We need victims to report what has happened and with the support of the wider public we can bring those responsible to justice.

"Arnold should feel utterly embarrassed by what he did, and hopefully his time behind bars will make him realise nobody will accept or tolerate such appalling behaviour." 

Anyone who has been a victim of a football-related hate crime, or has information about an offence, can contact officers via the Live Chat service or by calling 101.


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