“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.”
The FA explained their decision in a detailed statement, but were eager not to question the integrity of Holgate’s complaint following their deliberations.
“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,” said the FA.
“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.”
On the process itself, which took over a month, the FA added: “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.