A FOOTBALL fan has been convicted of racially abusing TV pundit Rio Ferdinand at a Premier League game at Molineux.

Jamie Arnold hurled racist gestures at the former England defender during the Wolves and Manchester United fixture in May 2021.

The 33-year-old from Stone, Staffordshire, was ejected by stewards and promptly arrested by officers.

A thorough investigation led by the West Midlands Police football hate crime officer PC Stuart Ward uncovered CCTV and strong witness evidence to support the case.

However, Arnold denied a charge of racially aggravated public order and went on trial before Wolverhampton Crown Court this week.

He was found guilty after a jury came back with a unanimous verdict and will be sentenced on December 8.

The fixture was the first with fans at Molineux following the Covid pandemic.

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 also ordered to pay almost £900 in fines and court costs.

PC Ward - who was appointed the UK's first dedicated hate crime officer within a football unit - said: "Abusing anyone for the colour of their skin is disgusting and can never, ever be condoned.

"Arnold is old enough to know such appalling behaviour is inexcusable and certainly won't be tolerated.

"I know from personal experience how being a victim of racism hurts while offenders risk their own aspirations through getting a criminal record.

"I would like to thank Rio for his assistance in this investigation. Through his support we’ve ensured a man has this conviction to his name."