The criminal trial of a former Sheffield United player has been postponed because he has had his appendix removed.
Colin Kazim Richards’ trial into allegations that he made a homophobic gesture at fans last year was due to begin on Tuesday.
But the forward’s solicitor contacted Brighton Magistrates’ Court to say his client would be unable to attend.
He is thought to have had the surgical procedure to remove his appendix on Monday and medics say he will be unable to travel abroad for the ‘foreseeable future’.
Kazim Richards is charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour during a match against Albion at the American Express Community Stadium on February 12.
The footballer, who is out on loan at present to Turkish team Bursaspor, pleaded not guilty at a hearing in August.
The trial, which is listed to last a day and a half, is expected to be rescheduled for April.
Kazim Richards played for Sheffield United for one season in 2006/2007.