Sheffield Wednesday player Fernando Forestieri cleared of racism on Mansfield Town's Krystian Pearce

Fernando Forestieri leaving court
Fernando Forestieri leaving court

Footballer Fernando Forestieri has been cleared of racially aggravated behaviour following a 'friendly' against Mansfield Town last year

The Sheffield Wednesday player, 28, of Chambers Grove, Sheffield, also denied using threatening words and behaviour, after a brawl broke out on the pitch on July 24 last year.

The sides squared up just before the end, but it finally erupted after the whistle with stewards trying to separate players amid the flying fists and boots.

In an opening statement the prosecution alleged Fernando Forestieri used the words ‘n*****’ and ‘s***’ and had a heated exchange with a Mansfield Town player in the 80th minute of the match, according to journalist Dan Hayes, who is reporting live from Mansfield Magistrates' Court.

But finding Forestieri the judge said he could not be satisfied to a criminal standard that Forestieri had said the offending word, although he said he believed Mr Pearce was ‘unlikely’ to have been mistaken about hearing it.

Character witnesses also told the court that Forestieri had not previously showed signs of racist behaviour.

Giving evidence earlier, Stags' player Krystian Pearce told the court that an argument had developed between him and Forestieri on the pitch, which escalated when Forestieri swore to him in Spanish.

Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft told the court that he noticed Krystian Pearce's ‘focus changed’ and it was not an 'on the ball' incident.

He became aware the problem was with Krystian Pearce and Forestieri, and was told by the fourth official that there had been an alleged ‘racist incident’.

Mr Flintcroft then entered the field of play and later took Pearce off the pitch to ‘protect him’.

Referee John Brooks told the court that the match was largely uneventful and peaceful until the 88th minute at which point Pearce told him he had been racially abused and was visibly distressed.

He then told the fourth official and there was later a mass brawl after the game finished. He said that he didn't hear the alleged racial abuse.
After the not guilty verdict, Forestieri left the hearing without making comment.

Fernando Forestieri

Fernando Forestieri

Krystian Pearce

Krystian Pearce