The FA have - finally - confirmed that they will take no action against Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino following his clash with Mason Holgate in last month’s Merseyside derby.
After an exhaustive six-week investigation, the FA say there is not sufficient evidence to take action against the Brazilian.
Holgate claimed he had been racially abused by Firmino following a heated exchange between the players.
The incident began when Holgate shoved Firmino over the advertising hoardings during the first half of the FA Cup third round tie at Anfield.
An angry Firmino then confronted Holgate, who immediately indicated to the referee that he had been racially abused.
Despite failing to find sufficient evidence, the FA insists they are satisfied Holgate’s claim was made in “good faith”.
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 investigation included taking statements from 12 players and officials from both teams, the match referee and the fourth official. No-one was able to confirm whether Firmino had used a racial slur.
A Brazilian/Portuguese linguistic specialist and two independent Portuguese speaking lip reading experts were also consulted during the FA’s investigation.
To be fair to the FA, it seems they have done all they can to try and establish the truth surrounding what is a highly-charged, emotive incident.
No-one can have any complaints about their judgement and it’s hoped this will now signal the end of the matter.