After weeks of investigation, the FA has reached the conclusion that Roberto Firmino did not racially abuse Mason Holgate and that the Everton defender made the allegation in good faith.
I wrote an article yesterday wondering why the FA hadn’t taken action on Holgate’s claims after 47 days and lo and behold, that very same evening, an announcement was made that their findings concluded that Firmino is innocent of all wrongdoing.
For those that don’t know, Holgate accused the Brazilian of racially abusing him during the Merseyside derby at the beginning of January. Firmino reacted angrily to being shoved over advertising hoardings and shouted at Holgate in Portuguese and it would seem as though the defender misheard.
In my view, I don’t believe Holgate made the claims in good faith and I think that he has done damage to the voice that the black community has when speaking up about racism.
Moving on, however, I am impressed with the classy way that Firmino has dealt with the situation and he and the club have had statements released on the website pertaining to the whole saga.
Liverpool’s statement: “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.
“We are satisfied that the outcome of the process has exonerated the player of using any racist or discriminatory language.”
On the whole ugly mess, Firmino commented: “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.”
After the long and arduous process of dealing with the FA and waiting for an outcome, it’s good to know that all this drama is behind us and that Liverpool’s most important player will not have to fear of being slapped with a hefty ban.