Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino will face no disciplinary action following his clash with Everton’s Mason Holgate in the FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield last month.
Officials announced on Wednesday that there was insufficient evidence to uphold an allegation of “discriminatory conduct” during the Merseyside derby clash.
Firmino and Holgate were involved in an angry exchange after the Everton defender pushed the Brazilian into the front row of the stand shortly before half-time of Liverpool’s 2-1 win.
Words were exchanged which left the 21-year-old Holgate incensed. Referee Bobby Madley made reference to an allegedly racist remark that had been reported to him, understood to be by the Everton defender on the pitch and Everton officials after the match.
That prompted the FA, English football’s governing body, to look into the incident.
However, a FA statement issued Wednesday said: “Following a detailed investigation into an allegation of discriminatory conduct against Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino by Everton’s Mason Holgate, the FA can confirm that it will not be taking any disciplinary action against Firmino.”
Firmino, responding to Wednesday’s decision, insisted he never had and never would use racist language although he stressed it was “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,” he added in a statement issued on his behalf by Liverpool.
“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.”