Liverpool attacker Roberto Firmino has been cleared by the Football Association after allegations he racially abused Everton defender Mason Holgate.
And the governing body has also moved to quell suggestions Holgate made the claim in anything but good faith.
The FA had been probing claims Firmino abused Holgate during the FA Cup third round showdown between the Merseyside rivals at Anfield on January 5.
Having been shoved into the crowd by the Blues player during a challenge shortly before half-time, an unhappy Firmino was captured on camera shouting at Holgate in Portuguese after confronting the Everton centre-back.
Holgate then responded in an outraged manner while complaining to referee Bobby Madley at what had been said, and accused Firmino of racist abuse, a complaint that was later included in the referee’s official report.
And almost 50 days after the incident, the FA has revealed that after interviews with 12 players and officials from both teams, nobody directly heard the words alleged to have been said by the Liverpool man.
Linguistic specialists and unseen footage illustrated Firmino had no case to answer, although the FA were keen to point out Holgate made the allegation in good faith.
In a statement explaining their decision, they said:
“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. Holgate and Everton followed the proper process by reporting the matter to the match officials at the time and subsequently to The FA.”
The FA statement later explained the process behind their decision which underlined why the investigation had taken so long to reach a conclusion.
Via Liverpool Echo