Why is the FA taking so long to deliver a verdict on the Roberto Firmino racism allegation?

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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.

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.

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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.”

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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*****.”

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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.

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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.

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Michael Mongie
Just like you, I am a hugely passionate Liverpool supporter. I started Rousing the Kop in January 2015 and since then it has grown tremendously and has even been nominated as 'Best New Football Blog' in the Football Blogging Awards.

11 COMMENTS

  1. There was no evidence to find Suarez guilty of using racist comments towards Evra apart from Evra’s claim. Even though Evra had been found guilty of false claims against a grounds man and changed his ‘evidence’ more than once Suarez was found guilty on ‘the balance of probabilities’ by the FA’s kangaroo court. Not a great omen.

    • Agree about the Kangaroo court verdict on Luis by the unreliable Evra but he admitted using the word “negrito! ” and with Luis’s public profile and the presence of Alex Ferguson looking at the FA, they used the opportunity to jump all over Suarez. No such word from Firmino or anything vaguely similar. The FA simply don’t want to punish a black player for false accusations. In the blazered County associations of the FA they don’t know what to do.

      • It’s a shame to have to clarify this again but I sincerely wish people would take the time to actually read the Suarez / Evra report rather than spout out “facts” from a position of impassioned ignorance. Suarez calling Evra a “negrito” was a fabrication of the British press. Evra never makes this claim and Suarez never admits to it, nor is that what he was punished for. A simple Ctrl + F search of the FA report draws x3 uses of the word “negrito” and all 3 uses are in a passage (Paragraph 353 to be exact) describing the fact that Manchester United player Hernandez refers to his Mexican team-mate Omar Esparza with this term. It is never used in connection with Suarez. It was a press invention.

        Evra’s initial claim was that Suarez used the word “n****r” “at least ten times”. He later changed this accusation to an accusation that he had been called “black” six times (after being shown the video footage) and that he incorrectly used the word “n****r” because he was upset and that although he spoke conversational Spanish and was confident enough to stat an argument in Spanish – he forgot the Spanish word for black. The FA said this was feasible in the circumstances.

        Suarez did not ever “admit” to using the word “black” more than once – his story has been remarkably consistent considering the easiest thing for him would be say he used the word “black” more than once, apologise and move on. Suarez his consistently stuck to his story that he replied “why black?” after Evra said “don’t touch me south American”. The FA went to great lengths to state that they had no evidence that Evra ever said “South American” because to a Spanish speaker this in itself is a racial insult. Try this out for yourself next time you are in Spain – pick yourself out a burly Spanish policeman, call him a “Sudaco” or “Sur Americano” and see what happens.

        It’s interesting to note that in the original FA charge (paragraph 5) – Evra (and therefore the FA) have settled on the number of times “black” was used as six. There is no mention of a seventh time (Suarez was found guilty of seven instances). The phantom seventh instance suddenly appears in paragraph 335, 86 pages into a 115 page document. In other words (not that it makes much difference) – Evra never claims this one even occurs, the FA seem to just add it in for good measure!

    • apart from the fact he admitted it? (suarez)

      love how this article and the lipreader fail to mention how when saying those words Holgate does not react, but reacts fiercely right after that, when firminho is blocked from view by Jonjoe Kenny

      p.s. a push to the back/chest, regardless of position on the pitch is a yellow, not a red

    • Got to agree mate, the FA are desperately trying to find a way of finding him guilty of something. I just hope the clubs American lawyers fight for him unlike the idiot who defended Suarez.

  2. The thing people seem to miss from this exchange is that is clear Firmino calls him a crazy son of a bitch and Holgate does not react. Firmino then says something else but his face is blocked from both camera angles – one by a Liverpool player and one by an Everton player – it is this statement that Holgate reacts to. Lip readers can only lip read what they can see, and this was not caught on camera. Liverpool fans are very quick to condemn Holgate, just as Everton fans are quick to condemn Firmino – the fact remains that there is no place for racism in 2018; not just in Football, but in any aspect of society. This is indeed a sensitive event and coming to rushed conclusions without sufficient ‘evidence’ is very dangerous.

  3. Holgate is a lying, sore loser who used the N word to cover up his own misdeed of intentionally shoving Firmino into the advertising board.

    He would have been laughing after the match, to not get sent off

  4. Glad to see someone bringing this up. I’ve regularly been searching for the latest on this debacle and find it pretty shocking the mainstream press hasn’t followed up on it at all. Agree that it’s a disgrace that Holgate hasn’t been punished for the push on Bobby – a clear red card in itself – and dismayed that what looks a lot like a false claim is likely to go unpunished. Effectively telling the world that the best way to avoid a red and get away with something is to cry wolf.. or rather, shout racist. I’ve a nagging suspicion that it’s being deliberately drawn out by the incompetent muppets at the FA in the hope people will forget about it so they don’t have to deal with the false accusation or discuss the reprehensible lack of action over the initial push into the hoardings.

  5. It is puzzling that the FA hasn’t yet issued an official response or ruling after so many weeks. For every LFC supporter who thinks there’s a witch hunt to get Firmino banned (because the FA are biased against LFC), there’s an EFC supporter who thinks the FA are just delaying things to allow Firmino, a key player, to continue contributing to LFC’s season (because the FA are biased in favor of LFC). But no one here has any actual knowledge of where the FA are with this investigation or if, in fact, any investigation is underway, so perhaps we shouldn’t become too accustomed to wearing tinfoil hats lest it become habit-forming.

  6. It’s a shame to have to clarify this again but I sincerely wish people would take the time to actually read the Suarez / Evra report rather than spout out “facts” from a position of impassioned ignorance. Suarez calling Evra a “negrito” was a fabrication of the British press. Evra never makes this claim and Suarez never admits to it, nor is that what he was punished for. A simple Ctrl + F search of the FA report draws x3 uses of the word “negrito” and all 3 uses are in a passage (Paragraph 353 to be exact) describing the fact that Manchester United player Hernandez refers to his Mexican team-mate Omar Esparza with this term. It is never used in connection with Suarez. It was a press invention.

    Evra’s initial claim was that Suarez used the word “n****r” “at least ten times”. He later changed this accusation to an accusation that he had been called “black” six times and that he incorrectly used the word “n****r” because he was upset and that although he spoke conversational Spanish and was confident enough to stat an argument in Spanish – he forgot the Spanish word for black. The FA said this was feasible in the circumstances.

    Suarez did not ever “admit” to using the word “black” more than once – his story has been remarkably consistent considering the easiest thing for him would be say he used the word “black” more than once, apologise and move on. Suarez his consistently stuck to his story that he replied “why black?” after Evra said “don’t touch me south American”. The FA went to great lengths to state that they had no evidence that Evra ever said “South American” because to a Spanish speaker this in itself is a racial insult. Try this out for yourself next time you are in Spain – pick yourself out a burly Spanish policeman, call him a “Sudaco” or “Sur Americano” and see what happens.

    It’s interesting to note that in the original FA charge (paragraph 5) – Evra (and therefore the FA) have settled on the number of times “black” was used as six. There is no mention of a seventh time (Suarez was found guilty of seven instances). The phantom seventh instance suddenly appears in paragraph 335, 86 pages into a 115 page document. In other words (not that it makes much difference) – Evra never claims this one even occurs, the FA seem to just add it in for good measure!

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