The trial of England footballer Adam Johnson on child sex charges has been put back to next year.
The 28-year-old Sunderland winger has appeared at Durham Crown Court for a hearing which dealt with legal rulings, ahead of a trial which had been scheduled for later this month.
Judge Christopher Prince, the recorder of Durham, accepted that the trial could not take place then, and said it will be heard at Bradford Crown Court on February 10.
The judge said details of today’s hearing could not be reported except to say it involved legal and administrative matters.
Johnson, wearing a blue-grey checked suit and white shirt with no tie, was driven to the hearing in a Range Rover, and walked into the court building with a group of men including his legal team and his father.
The defendant, from Castle Eden, County Durham, has already denied three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of grooming.
Born in Sunderland, Johnson began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester City and then to Sunderland for £10 million in 2012.