Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs is on trial Monday for allegedly assaulting and coercively controlling his ex-girlfriend in a case that turned his managerial career upside down.
The 48-year-old, who was until recently manager of the Wales national team, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The jury trial in a Manchester Crown Court was due to open at 10:30 (0930 GMT) with Judge Hilary Manley presiding. It is expected to last 10 days.
Giggs is accused of assaulting and actually assaulting his former girlfriend, public relations manager Kate Greville, on November 1, 2020, when police were called to his Manchester-area home.
The Welsh woman is also charged on the same day with mutually assaulting her younger sister Emma Greville.
He also faces charges of controlling and coercing behavior towards Kate Greville throughout their relationship, which began in 2017 and ended with the alleged assault.
The indictment states that his behavior toward Greville, 36, included the use of “isolation, belittlement, humiliation, harassment, degradation and abuse.”
Giggs was arrested by police at his home in November 2020 and released on bail.
He has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty in a first court appearance in April last year.
His trial was due to be heard in January but was delayed due to a backlog of court cases caused by the Covid pandemic.
– First of two attempts –
Giggs’ lawyer Chris Daw has acted for high-profile sports figures including former England and Chelsea football captain John Terry, who was found not guilty of the racial abuse of teammate Anton Ferdinand in 2012.
Giggs resigned as Wales manager in June after being furloughed since his arrest.
He said he didn’t want “continued interest in this case” to affect the team’s preparations for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
He remains on conditional bail and has said he looks forward to “clearing my name.”
A dazzling teenage talent, Giggs ended his career at Old Trafford as the most decorated player in English football history.
As a player, Giggs made a club record 963 appearances for Manchester United over 23 years, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
He then began his coaching career at Old Trafford, eventually taking on temporary responsibility 2013⁄14 Season following the sacking of David Moyes before working as Louis van Gaal’s assistant for two years.
Giggs was appointed manager of Wales in January 2018 and helped them qualify for Euro 2020, only their second appearance in a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.
Manchester City and France international Benjamin Mendy is also due to appear in court this week
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His trial begins shortly before another court case involving a football star, Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy.
The Frenchman is due to appear in court in Chester, north-west England, on Wednesday for rape and assault in a case involving seven women.
Mendy, who was suspended by City, denies the allegations.