Ryan Giggs, the former Manchester United player, went on trial on Monday on charges of assaulting and coercively controlling his ex-girlfriend, in a case that has rocked his managerial career.
The 48-year-old, who most recently served as Wales national team coach, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum prison sentence of five years.
The jury trial was set to begin at 10:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) at a crown court in Manchester, presided over by judge Hilary Manley. It will last for 10 days.
Giggs is accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, public relations executive Kate Greville, and causing her actual bodily harm on November 1, 2020, when police were called to his home in the Manchester area.
On the same day, the Welshman is also charged with common assault on her younger sister, Emma Greville.
He is also accused of controlling and coercive behaviour toward Kate Greville throughout their relationship, which began in 2017 and culminated in the alleged assault.
According to the charge, his actions toward Greville, 36, included “isolation, belittling, humiliation, harassment, degradation, and abuse.”
Giggs was arrested at his home by police in November 2020 and released on bail.
In an initial court appearance in April of last year, he denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.
His trial was scheduled to begin in January, but it was postponed due to a court case backlog caused by the Covid pandemic.
Chris Daw, Giggs’ lawyer, has represented high-profile athletes such as former England and Chelsea football captain John Terry, who was found not guilty of racially abusing fellow player Anton Ferdinand in 2012.
After being on leave since his arrest, Giggs resigned as Wales manager in June.
He stated that he did not want the team’s preparations for this year’s World Cup in Qatar to be hampered by “continued interest in this case.”
He is still on conditional bail and has stated that he is looking forward to “clearing his name.”
Giggs finished his career at Old Trafford as the most decorated player in English football history.
Giggs made a club-record 963 appearances for Manchester United over a 23-year career, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
He then began his coaching career at Old Trafford, taking over as interim manager at the end of the 2013/14 season after David Moyes was fired, before working as an assistant to Louis van Gaal for two years.
Giggs took over as Wales manager in January 2018 and helped them qualify for Euro 2020, their first major tournament appearance since the 1958 World Cup.