According to quotes from the prosecution against John Terry, the pair were initially arguing after Ferdinand made reference to the fact that the Chelsea defender had had an affair with the ex-wife of former teammate Wayne Bridge.
Opening the prosecution on Monday, Duncan Penny said: "The Crown alleges that the words he used demonstrated hostility based on Mr Ferdinand's membership or presumed membership of a racial group."
"The Crown alleges that the defendant, most probably in response to physical gestures being made by Mr Ferdinand which the defendant understood to refer to the well-publicised allegation of an extra-marital affair with a team-mate's wife, shouted at Mr Ferdinand.
He added: "The Crown's case is that the words were abusive and insulting in a straightforward sense and that the term 'f****** black c***' was uttered as an abusive insult demonstrating hostility based on Mr Ferdinand's membership of a racial group.
"They were uttered by the defendant in response to goading by Mr Ferdinand on the issue of his extra-marital affair, rather than by way of exaggerated and instant querying of a perceived false allegation."