Gascoigne to be charged with racially aggravated abuse

Former footballer, 49, issued with summons to appear in court on 17 June

Paul Gascoigne, Billy Stickland

Paul Gascoigne of England ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Former England soccer star Paul Gascoigne is due to appear in court over an alleged racist "joke" he made.

The former England player has been summonsed to appear before magistrates accused of racially aggravated abuse after an alleged joke about a black bouncer at his show An Evening With Gazza.

Gascoigne, 49 - who has suffered for years from alcoholism - made the alleged remark at Wolverhampton Civic Centre on November 30.

He will now appear at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court on June 17 to answer the summons and be charged with the offence, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

It follows a police investigation into a complaint made about the star's conduct during the show.

Gascoigne, who played for Lazio, Spurs, Newcastle Utd, Everton and Rangers, made the joke at the expense of a black security guard he spotted in a darkened corner of the stage.

Gascoigne's agent Terry Baker has not made any comment.

Gascoigne was described as the most gifted footballer of his generation, and arguably peaked at Euro 96, 20 years ago.

He has suffered recurring bouts of alcoholism and drying out before relapsing.

Earlier this year he insisted during a TV interview that he was "back to his best after a two-day blip" after being photographed looking dishevelled and clutching bottles of gin.