Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has admitted making a racist comment in front of hundreds of people at his An Evening With Gazza show.
The 49-year-old, whose career included spells at Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Rangers, had been due to stand trial accused of using racially aggravated “threatening, abusive or insulting” words or behaviour.
But the star, who lives in Dorset, changed his plea to guilty before the first witness was called to give evidence at Dudley Magistrates’ Court.
District Judge Graham Wilkinson was told the offence was committed during an on-stage performance by Gascoigne on November 30 last year at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall.
After Gascoigne’s change of plea, Judge Wilkinson said the ex-player had admitted “the sort of insidious racism” that needed to be challenged.
Ordering Gascoigne to pay Mr Rowe £1,000 in compensation, District Judge Graham Wilkinson told the retired star: “You sought to get a laugh from an audience of over 1,000 people because of the colour of Mr Rowe’s skin.”