Firmino cleared by FA over Holgate incident

Roberto Firmino will face no disciplinary action from the Football Association following an investigation into claims he racially abused Everton’s Mason Holgate during an FA Cup tie at Anfield in January.

Holgate alleged the Liverpool forward had used a “discriminatory term” after the two clashed on the pitch and Holgate pushed the Brazilian over the pitch side advertising boards.

The FA probe concluded there was “not sufficient” evidence to charge Firmino.

Firmino, 26, admitted that he had insulted Holgate, 21, in Portuguese, but denied using racist language.

The FA took interviewed 12 players and officials, including referee Bobby Madley and the fourth official, but none of them confirmed that they heard the words alleged to have been said by Firmino.

Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese language lip readers were also employed to look at footage of the incident.

In a statement, the FA said: “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 appreciate that this has been a difficult process for both parties, and would like to express our thanks to Mason Holgate and Roberto Firmino as well as both clubs for their assistance, professionalism and full co-operation during this investigation.”

Responding to the news, Firmino said: “As someone who has experienced racist abuse during my life, I know how damaging and hurtful it can be.

“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.”