Michael Mongie discusses the racism allegation Mason Holgate leveled at Roberto Firmino after the pair clashed during the Merseyside derby last month.
On the fifth of January, Liverpool beat Everton in the FA Cup courtesy of a fantastic header at the Kop End from new signing Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman, making his debut for the Reds, rose highest in the box to score the winner and send his new club to the next round of the cup.
Yet, this great moment has been forgotten to an extent due to a moment of controversy that allegedly happened in the first half after Firmino was forced over the advertising hoardings by Mason Holgate.
After climbing out of the laps of delighted Liverpool fans, Firmino angrily confronted the Everton defender. Holgate accused the Brazilian of racially abusing him although referee Bobby Madley’s match report indicated he didn’t hear any racial slurs and he was between the pair at the time of the altercation.
Friendly reminder that it’s now been 46 days since Mason Holgate accused Roberto Firmino of racism.
— Mike (@MikeMongie) February 20, 2018
I tweeted yesterday that the FA have not taken any action since the controversial incident 47 days ago. They have, of course, interviewed Firmino, Holgate, Bobby Madley and other players that may have overheard potentially incriminating slurs from the Liverpool forward.
Yet, given that this interview process has passed and information hasn’t surfaced, I am left wondering why it is taking so long to reach a conclusion?
There are many Liverpool fans who wonder if there is a conspiracy to indict Firmino and while I am sure there isn’t any such witchhunt, it does seem bizarre that with all the resources available in the time that has passed, that a verdict has not been reached.
Even more strange to me is that Mason Holgate hasn’t faced any disciplinary action for his dangerous shove on Firmino. Pushing the no.9 over the hoardings could have resulted in the injury of the striker or a fan – or both.
Accusing Firmino of racism falsely, or truly, was a get out of jail free card as he was surely facing a sending off. After the incident, the Daily Mirror sought out a professional lip reader to ascertain exactly what Firmino said to Holgate.
Tim Reedy found that the Brazilian said in Portuguese: “Es maluco, filho da puta?” This translates in English to “Are you crazy, you son of a b***h?”
The lip reader told the Mirror: “Firmino, in retaliation to the push, confronts Holgate, shouting some words at him, to which Holgate does not react.”
Reedy continued: “Holgate does not compute because Firmino is speaking in Portuguese. My findings are that Firmino did not use racist language.
“Instead, he says the words, ‘Es maluco, filho da puta?’, which translates as ‘Are you crazy, you son of a b***h?’. Then Holgate, upon speaking to the referee, thinks that racist language was used and tells the referee, ‘He called me a n****r.’
“It also appears the referee has no idea what Firmino said. When pushed away by a team-mate, Holgate reiterates that he was called a n*****.”
Liverpool depend hugely on Firmino and his 33 goal contributions this season have been crucial to helping the Reds succeed in the Premier League and in Europe. A ban, and a significant one at that, would certainly scupper chances of success for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
As things stand, however, it appears though the FA have nothing to charge Firmino with and he will be free to continue terrorising defences across Europe along with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
As for Holgate, if he fabricated the racial incident then he should be fined and banned but proving a false accusation is much harder than proving something was actually said.
Personally, I would like to forget that this whole drama happened so that we can get back to football. That said, it is concerning that the Football Association is so poor at carrying out investigations.
They claim they are taking their time in order to ensure the right conclusion is met but we are nearing 50 days since the incident occurred and there is no real evidence other than Holgate’s testimony to charge Firmino with.
I think the biggest indication of Firmino’s innocence is the freedom with which he is playing. His game hasn’t taken a knock like it might have if he was guilty. I just hope the FA can announce their findings soon enough so we can all move on.