February 21, 2018 / 7:11 PM / 24 days ago

Soccer-Liverpool's Firmino cleared by FA over Holgate clash

LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino will not face disciplinary action after Everton’s Mason Holgate alleged he used discriminatory language towards him in an FA Cup tie in January, the Football Association said on Wednesday.

English soccer’s governing body said the evidence was not sufficient to raise a charge against the Brazil forward after he clashed with Holgate during the third round tie.

Holgate pushed Firmino, 26, into the advertising hoardings in the 40th minute of the Merseyside derby and the Liverpool forward reacted by verbally abusing Everton’s 21-year-old English defender.

An animated Holgate, who is mixed-race, then complained to referee Bobby Madley about Firmino’s comments.

“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,” the FA said in a statement.

The governing body also said they were completely satisfied that the allegation was made in good faith by Holgate and there was no suggestion of it being “intentionally false or malicious”.

The FA said it took statements from 12 players and officials from both teams, the match referee and the fourth official. None of those interviewed heard the words alleged to have been said by Firmino, the FA added.

“As part of the investigation, The FA sought the assistance of a Brazilian/Portuguese linguistic specialist on the words alleged,” the FA statement said.

“In addition to this, we also obtained multiple angles of video footage, including broadcast and unseen footage showing the incident, which was assessed by two independent Portuguese speaking lip-reading experts.”

Liverpool won the game 2-1.

Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Andrew Roche

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