Roberto Firmino cleared by FA over Mason Holgate racism allegations
The English FA has decided not to charge Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino after completing their investigation into an allegation of racist abuse made by Everton defender Mason Holgate.
Holgate made the accusation after the FA Cup third round match between the Merseyside clubs in which the players clashed.
The FA were made aware of the allegation after the incident was included in referee Bobby Madley's match report and subsquently began their investigation.
The governing body said in a statement: “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.”
The Brazil international released a statement on the official Liverpool website: "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."