MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Former Manchester United soccer player and Wales national team manager Ryan Giggs will stand trial on January 24 next year accused of deliberately headbutting his ex-girlfriend and controlling behaviour, a court ruled on Friday.
The 47-year-old has pleaded not guilty.
A plea and trial preparation hearing will be held on July 23, which Giggs must attend. He will remain on conditional bail until then.
The prosecution must detail the particulars of the coercive and controlling behaviour charge by July 9, with the court hearing the relationship had been ‘tempestuous’.
Giggs faces two other charges of causing actual bodily harm to ex-girlfriend Kate Greville and common assault of her younger sister Emma.
The former Manchester United winger, flanked by his lawyers, attended the 15-minute long preparation hearing before Judge Nicholas Dean at Manchester Crown Court on Friday.
The judge regretted that the trial date was set so far in the future but said that was “the best we can do in the circumstances.”
Giggs was charged in April when a magistrates court heard a prosecutor read out a summary of charges including that he struck Kate Greville with a “deliberate headbutt”.
“There was fear of violence on many occasions,” the prosecution added then, saying Giggs had subjected his partner to “degrading treatment” and isolation from friends and colleagues.
He was first arrested in the case and released on bail in November. He has been replaced as Wales manager for this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
Giggs made 963 appearances over 23 years for Manchester United as a player, a club record, winning a haul of honours including 13 Premier League winner’s medals and two UEFA Champions League winner’s medals.
He represented Wales as a player 64 times between 1991 and 2007 and took over as national coach in 2018.
The judge said the selected trial jurors would have to recognise the case had “nothing to do with football or an allegiance to any team.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in Lonn, Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)