A first half clash between Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino and Everton defender Mason Holgate during a hotly contested FA Cup tie between the two Merseyside clubs ended in an angry exchange of words between the two players — and an accusation from the Toffees defender that the Brazilian used racist or discriminatory language.
While all manner of amateur lip-readers and Portuguese language linguists weighed in on the matter, the Football Association ultimately has the final say and after conducting their investigation they have cleared Firmino of any wrongdoing.
“Having considered all of the available evidence, we consider it is not sufficient to raise a charge against Firmino,” read a statement from the FA regarding their investigation. “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.”
Was there a heated exchange of words between the two players? Definately. Was there a swear word or two in the mixer? Almost certainly. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything more. Racism has no place in football — full stop.
“We thank Roberto for the manner in which he has conducted himself during this difficult process, acknowledging that being subjected to such a serious allegation for this length of time has been hurtful to him and his family,” read a statement on Liverpool’s official page. “Roberto has co-operated fully with the process and shown a willingness to engage and assist throughout, with the only objective being to discover the truth of what happened,” it continued, before adding, “We are satisfied that the outcome of the process has exonerated the player of using any racist or discriminatory language.”