The fallout from the row between Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Everton’s Mason Holgate took a fresh twist on Wednesday morning.
The former is facing an FA investigation into allegedly using racially offensive language against the latter – but in a separate yet related development, Holgate is facing an investigation of his own – not into the push on Firmino that started the whole incident, however, but into homophobic posts allegedly sent from his Twitter account several years ago.
The Times have reported that the 21-year-old could be hit with a charge of misconduct and a suspension if the governing body choose to pursue this line of action against him.
The tweets (including various uses of the words ‘faggot’ and ‘batty)’, sent from Holgate’s account as far back as 2012, re-surfaced after Friday night’s Merseyside derby, the match in which the Everton centre-half claims that Firmino used racist language against him in the aftermath of their tussle. Holgate went on to delete his verified Twitter account soon after, but the questionable tweets had already been screengrabbed and widely distributed by multiple Liverpool fan accounts.
There is a precedent with the FA for suspending players based on homophobic language used on social media, regardless of how old the posts are. In 2016, then-Burnley striker Andre Gray was suspended for four matches for tweets sent from his account from roughly as far back as Holgate’s. Holgate might receive some leniency due to the fact that he was only 15 when he posted his own tweets, but the FA tend to take a dim view of these incidents.
Any charges brought on Holgate here will have no bearing on the Firmino incident, a decision on which is expected in the coming days.