The incident between Everton’s Mason Holgate and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino during the FA Cup third round match at Anfield has stirred up a lot of controversy so I thought I would pen my thoughts on the situation.
Firstly, the incident would never have happened if Holgate didn’t let his frustration get the better of him and push Firmino over the advertising hoarding and into the crowd.
The Everton man should have received a red card for his part in my opinion. Pushing and shoving can be part of the game, especially in a derby and that is fair enough. But what you cannot do is push an opponent into advertising hoardings because one, it endangers the player that has been pushed and two, it also endangers the spectators in the crowd.
The referee on the night Bobby Madley didn’t even hand Holgate a yellow card which was extremely bizarre, however that wasn’t the most controversial part of the incident, sadly.
Liverpool’s Firmino reacted angrily to the push which is understandable. He ran to confront Holgate and both players clashed. During a war of words, Firmino was seen to say something which caused an angry reaction from the Everton defender.
The FA are following this incident up and it’s good to finally see a fast response to racial abuse claims. As a result, the two players involved, team-mates and referee Bobby Madley will be interviewed.
Holgate claims that Firmino used the N-word during the heated exchange but in the referee’s report, Madley said that he didn’t hear the word being used.
A lip reader told the Daily Mirror that Firmino used the Portuguese phrase ‘Es maluco, filho da puta.” Which translates as “Are you crazy? Are you crazy? Son of a b*tch!”
I have seen people demand that if Mason Holgate has got his accusation wrong, he should be punished. And I find that absolutely ridiculous, frankly.
Just a week or so ago, Liverpool youngster Rhian Brewster took part in an interview in the papers and said that he had been on the receiving end of racial abuse on the pitch and he either ignored it or UEFA didn’t follow up on his reports.
If we want to crackdown on this problem then we should be applauding players who have the courage to stand up and report it, or the problem will only get worse.
If the incident from the Merseyside Derby was simply a misunderstanding due to the language barrier then both players should shake hands and move on. However, if Roberto Firmino is found guilty then the FA should throw the book at him and make a start on stamping this problem out of our game.
It will be interesting to see what’s found out during the Football Association’s investigation.