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A videograb showing the altercation between Roy Keane and Scott Law Edward Fail Bradshaw & Waterson/PA
alleged assault

Roy Keane gestured to 'meet fan outside' after 'banter turned more aggressive', court told

The former Manchester United player was allegedly headbutted by Scott Law at the Emirates Stadium in London.

FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED midfielder Roy Keane gestured towards an Arsenal fan during a football match to “meet him outside” after “banter turned more aggressive”, a court has heard.

Scott Law, 43, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault against Keane relating to an incident on 3 September last year following Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United.

The ex-Ireland international, who was working as a pundit for Sky Sports, was allegedly headbutted through doors at the Emirates Stadium by Law, of Waltham Abbey, Essex.

Law’s defence team alleged that CCTV footage from inside the stadium, shown in court, displayed Keane elbowing the defendant in the face.

Under cross-examination, the police officer in charge of the case told Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court today that there may have been contact from Keane, but it “does not look like a deliberate elbow to the face”.

Referring to the footage, defence barrister Charles Sherrard KC asked the officer: “What possible explanation can there be for raising your elbow at that speed to hold someone?”

Detective Constable Phil Dickinson, from the Metropolitan Police’s sporting investigations unit, replied: “In my opinion, he’s gone to grab hold of him.”

He added: “There may have been contact, but it does not look like a deliberate elbow to the face in my opinion.”

Sherrard said this was “absolute nonsense” and accused the officer of “lying”, alleging that police “had done nothing” to investigate evidence pointing away from Law, who was sat beneath the Sky Sports studio at Arsenal’s stadium during the game.

Further CCTV footage shown in court appeared to show Law exiting and running away from the Emirates Stadium on the day of the incident.

In a prepared statement given to police on the day following the incident, Law said: “Throughout the match there was what I would regard as banter between me and Mr Keane.

“The banter turned more aggressive with Mr Keane gesturing towards me to meet him outside.”

Law said in the statement that he was an “avid football fan” and had seen Keane act violently before on the football pitch, adding that he was “scared” at the time of the incident.

He said during a “natural break in the game” he went to use the toilet and was approached by Keane in a “very aggressive manner”, adding: “His face looked angry.”

Law said in the statement that he moved his head forward in a “pre-emptive strike” to defend himself against Keane.

The court was shown a custody photo of Law from 4 September, 2023 in which he appeared to have an injury to his nose.

Following the match last year, footage was widely shared on social media of ex-Manchester City footballer and Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards stepping in to calm an apparent confrontation.

Dc Dickinson said police were unable to trace who filmed the footage, which was shown in court, adding: “It had been retweeted so much.”

The trial continues.

Press Association