Sheffield Wednesday player Fernando Forestieri denies racial abuse which led to mass brawl at 'friendly' with Mansfield Town

Fernando Forestieri
Fernando Forestieri

The trial of a Sheffield Wednesday player accused of racially aggravated behaviour following a 'friendly' against Mansfield Town last year is taking place today.

Fernando Forestieri, 28, of Chambers Grove, Sheffield, also denies 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 alleges 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.

Giving evidence, Stags' player Krystian Pearce told the court that argument had developed between him and Forestieri on the pitch, which escated 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.

The trial will continue this afternoon.

Krystian Pearce

Krystian Pearce