The FA has said:
Following a detailed investigation into an allegation of discriminatory conduct against Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino by Everton’s Mason Holgate, The FA can confirm that it will not be taking any disciplinary action against Firmino.
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. Holgate and Everton followed the proper process by reporting the matter to the match officials at the time and subsequently to The FA. We receive a significant number of complaints of discrimination in any one season and thoroughly investigate all complaints we receive. Following consideration of all of the evidence received, not all cases will result in a charge being issued.
The evidence for the allegation came from Holgate. During a fixture between Liverpool and Everton on 5 January 2018, Holgate alleged that he had heard Firmino use a discriminatory term towards him. On hearing this, Holgate followed correct procedures by immediately alerting the match referee of the allegation, along with other Everton players who were in close proximity. The incident was formally reported to the match officials following the fixture and subsequently reported to The FA. We took statements from a total of 12 players and officials from both teams, the match referee and the fourth official. None of these individuals directly heard the words alleged to have been said by Firmino. Firmino was formally interviewed by The FA and provided an alternative account to the words alleged by Holgate. Firmino stated that he had insulted Holgate in Portuguese, but denied categorically using any discriminatory language towards him. As part of the investigation, The FA sought the assistance of a Brazilian/Portuguese linguistic specialist on the words alleged. In addition to this, we also obtained multiple angles of video footage, including broadcast and unseen footage showing the incident, which was assessed by two independent Portuguese speaking lip reading experts. We appreciate that this has been a difficult process for both parties, and would like to express our thanks to Mason Holgate and Roberto Firmino as well as both clubs for their assistance, professionalism and full cooperation during this investigation.
Roberto Firmino has said:
"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. 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. I am pleased after exhaustive reviews of all the evidence, in this specific incident, the matter is resolved."
Liverpool FC has said:
“We thank Roberto for the manner in which he has conducted himself during this difficult process, acknowledging that being subjected to such a serious allegation for this length of time has been hurtful to him and his family. Both the club and player were in full agreement from the beginning that if an investigation was required it should be a thorough and robust one. Roberto has co-operated fully with the process and shown a willingness to engage and assist throughout, with the only objective being to discover the truth of what happened. We are satisfied that the outcome of the process has exonerated the player of using any racist or discriminatory language.”
Everton FC has said:
"The club welcomes the FA's expression of complete satisfaction that the allegation made by our player, Mason Holgate, was done so in absolute good faith, that proper process was followed and that there is no suggestion of malice or dishonesty on Mason's part. In challenging circumstances, the FA has reached its determination and, as a club, we accept this."