Football: Paul Gascoigne to appear in court over 'racist joke'

LONDON (AFP) - Former England star Paul Gascoigne is to appear in court later this month over an alleged "racist joke" he told during his one-man show, it was announced on Saturday.

The troubled 49-year-old has been accused of racially aggravated abuse after allegedly making the joke about a black bouncer at one of his An Evening With Gazza shows at Wolverhampton Civic Centre in November.

He has now been summoned to appear at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court, in England's West Midlands, on June 17, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Saturday.

The CPS announcement followed a police investigation into a complaint made about Gascoigne's conduct during the show on Nov 30 when he is supposed to have made a "joke" at the expense of a black security guard he saw saw in a darkened corner of the stage.

Gascoigne, from Gateshead, north-east England, made his name with local club Newcastle United before going on to play for Tottenham Hotspur, Italian giants Lazio and several other teams including Glasgow Rangers.

The midfielder, widely regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, was also a key member of the England side that reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

But Gascoigne's life since he retired from top-flight football has been marked by recurrent bouts of alcoholism.