During Liverpool and Everton’s tense FA Cup clash at Anfield, there was an ugly scene involving Mason Holgate and Roberto Firmino.
The incident kicked off after the young Everton star gave Firmino a nasty push which sent the Brazilian forward over the advertising boards and into the watching crowd.
Holgate has eliminated Firmino from the Royal Rumble. pic.twitter.com/AbDarli4Yc
— Guy Incognito (@VoetbalKev) January 5, 2018
However, it was the immediate aftermath of the push that has caused more controversy than the push itself with Holgate reportedly accusing the Liverpool striker of making a racist comment.
Reporting on the altercation, the Sunday Mirror employed a professional lip reader to study the footage who apparently stated that, although he could find no evidence that Firmino used a racist term, he could conclude that Holgate twice accused the Liverpool star of using the N-word.
A lip reader employed by the Sunday Mirror has studied video footage of the game and says that 21-year-old Holgate twice claimed Firmino had used the “N-word”.
According to the lip reader, there was, however, no evidence from TV pictures to suggest that the Liverpool striker had said anything more offensive than a crude insult uttered in Portuguese.
If this video is Holgate accusing Firmino of what everyone thinks, then it’s a) appalling b) a massive embarrassment for Liverpool and Firmino after Rhian Brewster story.pic.twitter.com/rH4HmWd3N0
— Sean McPolin (@SeanMcPolin1) January 5, 2018
The FA has since released a statement on the incident confirming that the referee was aware of the allegations and an investigation has now been launched.
“The FA can confirm that referee Bobby Madley was made aware of an allegation during the Liverpool versus Everton game at Anfield last night and has subsequently reported this to the FA, which will now begin making enquiries into the matter.”
Commenting on the controversial incident for the Mirror, Stan Collymore has stated that although Firmino is ‘innocent until proven guilty’, the Liverpool forward ‘has to’ receive a 10-game ban should the investigation find the 26-year-old to be guilty.
If he [Firmino] is found guilty then a 10-game ban, a serious talking-to and compulsory attendance on a racism education course has to be meted out.
Former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez received an eight-game ban having been found guilty of similar allegations back in 2011, and given the lack of tolerance for such atrocious language in the game, Collymore’s estimation may indeed prove to be correct should Firmino be found guilty of the allegations levelled against him.