FORMER England defender Rio Ferdinand was subjected to "offensive, racist, unpleasant" abuse by a football fan during a Premier League match, a Black Country court has heard.

Jamie Arnold is accused of causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress to Mr Ferdinand by using "threatening, abusive or insulting" words or behaviour at the Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United match at Molineux on May 23 last year.

During the prosecution's opening of the 32-year-old's trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, footage was played to jurors, allegedly showing him making a racist gesture.

Mr Ferdinand had been at the game - the first time fans had returned to ground since the start of the coronavirus pandemic - working as a television pundit for BT Sport, the court heard.

Halesowen News: Rio Ferdinand. Pic - SWNSRio Ferdinand. Pic - SWNS

Opening the prosecution case, Jason Aris said the game at which the alleged incident happened was supposed to be "a joyous day for football fans in Wolverhampton", allowed to watch their first home game since the easing of restrictions.

He said: "Unfortunately, things became soured by virtue of the fact, we say, this defendant, Jamie Arnold, was in attendance.

"He was not there to behave, to watch the football match and enjoy the day.”

Arnold, of Norton Bridge, near Stone, Staffordshire, denies wrongdoing and the trial, expected to last a week, continues.