Roberto Firmino will face no punishment for the alleged racist abuse (which didn’t happen) towards Mason Holgate in the FA Cup 3rd Round back in January.
After six weeks of investigation, the FA released a statement saying there was insufficient evidence to punish Liverpool’s Brazilian.
But journalist James Nalton has claimed the FA removed a line which read, “The evidence obtained from the experts did not support the allegation,” from their original statement, which would have confirmed innocence and acted as a full exoneration.
However, by getting rid of this line, for whatever reason, the rhetoric is that they couldn’t find sufficient evidence, rather than that Firmino didn’t do it.
This is outrageously unfair on the player, whose statement following the incident was incredibly classy:
“As someone who has experienced racist abuse during my life, I know how damaging and hurtful it can be,” he told the official website.
“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.”
Respected journalist Chris Bascombe has questioned the FA’s judgement, stating that Firmino will likely be upset by their wording.
After such lengthy process, sure Firmino would have preferred FA statement to confirm innocence rather than ‘lack of evidence’. Odd. https://t.co/vXKNleKO9l
— Chris Bascombe (@_ChrisBascombe) February 22, 2018
It’s completely right that the FA had to undertake a full investigation and take Holgate’s allegation seriously.
But when the accused player is found so blatantly innocent, he deserves some kind of apology – rather than just a backhanded statement.