Roberto Firmino reacted furiously to Mason Holgate pushing him into the crowd (Picture: Reuters)Roberto Firmino has broken his silence after the FA cleared the Liverpool star of racially abusing Mason Holgate.
Holgate and Firmino clashed during the Merseyside derby in January after the Everton defender pushed the Red into the crowd, and the FA subsequently opened an investigation after an allegation of discriminatory conduct.
Firmino has remained silent during the investigation, but after the FA reached their conclusion on Wednesday, the Liverpool forward released his own statement.
It read: ‘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.
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(Picture: EPA)‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
(Picture: Getty)‘I am pleased after exhaustive reviews of all the evidence, in this specific incident, the matter is resolved.’
Everton have accepted the FA’s findings and reiterated that Holgate made the allegation ‘in absolute good faith’.
Liverpool and Firmino can now move on from the incident with the Reds set to take on West Ham on Saturday in the Premier League.
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