The trial of a former Albion star, due to start yesterday, has been postponed – because the forward has had his appendix removed.
Colin Kazim Richards, 27, was set to be tried over allegations he made a homophobic gesture at fans on February 12 last year.
The Blackburn player’s solicitor contacted Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Friday to say his client would be unable to make an appearance.
He is set to face one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour during a match against Albion at the American Express Community Stadium. Following complaints by fans, the footballer was arrested.
He pleaded not guilty at a hearing in August and a trial was set to start yesterday. The court heard Mr Kazim-Richards, who is currently out on loan at Turkish side Bursaspor, had been suffering with symptoms consistent with an enlarged appendix.
The club doctor first saw him before Christmas. Court documents show the procedure took place in Turkey on Monday.
In a letter to the court, his doctor said he would be unable to travel abroad for the foreseeable future.
Mr Kazim-Richards, who started his career at Bury, previously gave the court his address as Blackburn Rovers Senior Training, Brockhall Village, Old Langho, Blackburn.
He joined Brighton and Hove Albion in 2005 aged 18. He went on to play 43 times for the club scoring six goals.
The trial, which is listed to last a day and a half, is expected to be rescheduled for April.