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Ex-England footballer Gascoigne fined after pleading guilty to racially-aggravated offence

The 49-year-old admitted using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour” during An Evening With Gazza in Wolverhampton.

Updated at 14.20

FORMER ENGLAND FOOTBALLER Paul Gascoigne has been fined £1,000 (€1,168) and ordered to pay £1,000 (€1,168) in compensation by a court for making a racist comment to a black security guard at his An Evening With Gazza show last year.

Dudley Magistrates Court was told Gascoigne, 49, had humiliated Errol Rowe, who had been given the job of protecting him during his performance in the nearby English West Midlands town of Wolverhampton on 30 November last year, by asking him: “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?”

District Judge Graham Wilkinson, fining Gascoigne, told the retired playmaker: “You sought to get a laugh from an audience of over 1,000 people because of the colour of Mr Rowe’s skin.”

Paul Gascoigne court case Gascoigne arriving at Dudley Magistrates Court this morning. Source: Rui Vieira

It had appeared Gascoigne, who made his name at northeast club Newcastle United before enjoying spells at Tottenham Hotspur, Rome club Lazio and Glasgow Rangers, would contest the charge.

But Gascoigne changed his plea before the first witness was called to give evidence this morning.

Following Gascoigne’s guilty plea, Wilkinson said the former midfielder, a member of the England side that reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, had admitted to “the sort of insidious racism” that needed to be challenged.

One of the most naturally-talented English footballers of his generation, Gascoigne’s post-playing career has become best known for repeated struggles with alcoholism and mental illness.

However, he appeared fit and well as he signed autographs for fans before entering court on Monday.

- © AFP, 2016

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