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Firmino will not face disciplinary action following Holgate racism allegation

The incident took place during a Merseyside clash in January.

Firmino and Holgate.
Firmino and Holgate.
Image: Peter Byrne

ROBERTO FIRMINO WILL face no disciplinary action by the FA, following an investigation into an allegation of discriminatory conduct by Everton’s Mason Holgate.

The allegation refers to an FA Cup clash between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in January, where Holgate claims he heard Firmino use a discriminatory term towards him during the Merseyside derby.

Holgate pushed Firmino over the advertising hoardings in front of the Main Stand, as the pair chased the ball out over the sideline for a throw-in.

Firmino reacted angrily to the foul and confronted his opponent as referee Bobby Madley stepped in to intervene.

Following an investigation into the incident, a statement from the FA this evening reads:

“Having considered all of the available evidence, we consider it is not sufficient to raise a charge against Firmino.

“However, we are completely satisfied that the allegation was made in absolute good faith by Holgate and that there is no suggestion of this being an intentionally false or malicious allegation.

“We continue to take all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and would encourage all participants who believe that they have been the subject of or witness to discriminatory abuse to report this through the appropriate channels.

Holgate and Everton followed the proper process by reporting the matter to the match officials at the time and subsequently to The FA.

“We receive a significant number of complaints of discrimination in any one season and thoroughly investigate all complaints we receive. Following consideration of all of the evidence received, not all cases will result in a charge being issued.”

Both clubs have also released separate statements following the investigation.

A statement on the Everton FC website reads:

“Everton Football Club acknowledges and appreciates the thoroughness of the FA’s investigation into the incident that took place during our FA Cup third round game on 5 January.

The Club welcomes the FA’s expression of complete satisfaction that the allegation made by our player, Mason Holgate, was done so in absolute good faith, that proper process was followed and that there is no suggestion of malice or dishonesty on Mason’s part.

“The Club also welcomes the FA’s commitment to continue to treat all allegations of a discriminatory nature with extreme seriousness. In challenging circumstances, the FA has reached its determination and, as a Club, we accept this. We will continue to offer the full support of the Club to Mason and will make no further comment.”

Liverpool released a statement on Firmino’s behalf, in which the Brazilian insists he did not say anything offensive towards the Everton player.

“As difficult as it has been to remain publicly silent, given the serious and damaging nature of what it was claimed I said during the game, I did so to demonstrate my respect for the process and to allow the issue to be investigated in the most thorough way.

“It is critical for football that tackling racism and all forms of discrimination is taken extremely seriously. As someone who has experienced racist abuse during my life, I know how damaging and hurtful it can be.

“Now the process is concluded, I would like to place on record, for the avoidance of any doubt, I did not say the word, or a variation of the word, that was claimed and subsequently reported in the media.

I did not use any language that referenced race. I did not – and would never – reference a person’s skin colour or culture, by means of insult, during a dispute or an argument.

“There is no place for discrimination on a football pitch, or anywhere else in life for that matter.

“I am pleased after exhaustive reviews of all the evidence, in this specific incident, the matter is resolved.”

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