The domestic violence trial of ex-Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs has been put back seven months due to the ongoing backlog of court cases.
His hearing had been fixed for next Monday at Manchester Crown Court but no courtroom at the venue is available to take the case.
On Tuesday, Judge Hilary Manley said: “Unfortunately it has become necessary to vacate this trial from the list.
“The reason for this is because there is not a court available to accommodate this trial.
“Due to the large backlog of court cases, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the need for social distancing, this is a situation which is a daily reality for the criminal courts.”
Other trials listed next week include rape cases and hearings involving defendants in custody, the court was told.
One of the rape cases was already on its second trial date.
Judge Manley said such trials had to take priority.
Chris Daw QC, representing Giggs, said: “I have, of course, explained the situation to him and he is extremely disappointed at the development.
“He is grateful efforts have been made to fix the earliest possible new date.”
The reason for this is because there is not a court available to accommodate this trialJudge Hilary Manley
Giggs, 47, who did not attend Tuesday’s hearing, will now face a trial, which is set to last around two weeks, on August 8.
A pre-trial review hearing will take place on July 1.
Giggs is accused of using controlling and coercive behaviour against his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville, 36, between August 2017 and November 2020.
He is also accused of assaulting Ms Greville, causing her actual bodily harm, and of the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on November 1 2020.
Giggs has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He is on leave from his position as manager of Wales, for whom he won 64 caps as a player.
During Giggs’ time at Old Trafford, Manchester United won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League trophies, four FA Cups and three League Cups.
He is also a co-owner of League Two side Salford City.