Everton defender Mason Holgate facing investigation over homophobic tweets
Mason Holgate, who accused Roberto Firmino of racially abusing him, is himself facing the threat of a charge and ban over allegedly homophobic Twitter posts.
The Football Association is expected to conduct a formal investigation into three tweets containing words such as “fag”, “faggotttttttttt” and “battyboy”, which appeared on Everton defender Holgate’s verified account in 2012 and 2013.
The posts have since been deleted but they resurfaced the day after Friday night’s acrimonious Merseyside derby, during which Holgate accused Liverpool forward Firmino of racism.
The 21-year-old’s claims are already the subject of a separate investigation by the FA, which was expected to speak to both players this week before deciding whether to charge Firmino.
The Brazil forward did angrily confront Holgate during Friday’s FA Cup third-round tie after falling over the advertising hoardings at Anfield following a shove by Everton youngster.
That prompted Holgate to complain to referee Bobby Madley that Firmino had directed a racist slur at him, something the official included in his report to the FA.
However, despite being stood between both players when the alleged comment was made, Madley heard nothing discriminatory as he would have sent Firmino off otherwise.
If Holgate is found guilty of homophobia, he could be banned for several matches.
Watford striker Andre Gray was suspended for four games in 2016 while at Burnley following the re-emergence of a series of homophobic tweets he sent playing in non-league football four years previously.
Coventry City defender Chris Stokes was banned for one match in 2016 for a homophobic tweet that he sent that year containing the word “faggots”.
The posts on the now-deleted @MasonHolgateee Twitter account re-emerged when Liverpool fan sites began sharing screengrabs of them in an apparent reprisal for his allegation against Firmino.
He was 15 and 16, respectively, when the posts were made, something that could be used in mitigation were he charged, but he also would have received education at that time over social media and diversity issues.