Ex-Barnsley youngster Mason Holgate in Twitter storm
Former Barnsley youngster Mason Holgate could face a Football Association charge for alleged homophobic tweets sent from a now deleted Twitter account more than five years ago.
The FA is already investigating Everton defender Holgate’s claim that he was racially abused by Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino after the pair clashed in last week’s FA Cup third round game at Anfield, which the home side won 2-1.
But it is now understood that the governing body is also aware of three tweets he apparently sent in 2012 and 2013 that contain pejorative terms for gay men and it may launch a formal investigation.
Doncaster-born Holgate, now 21, was a member of Barnsley’s youth set-up at the time and did not join Everton until 2015.
The @MasonHolgateee account has been deactivated but screengrabs of the tweets have been circulated in the aftermath of Holgate’s allegation about Firmino.
Holgate reported the allegation to referee Bobby Madley and he included it in his match report, but the official did not hear any racial comment himself, despite standing between the two men.
The incident occurred after Holgate appeared to shove Firmino into the crowd, although Madley chose not to punish Holgate for that either.
Players have been sanctioned for offensive comments made on social media before, with the most obvious precedent being Watford striker Andre Gray’s four-game ban in 2016 for homophobic tweets he sent while playing non-league football in 2012.
Holgate joined Barnsley’s academy at the age of nine and after just 20 games for the Reds’ first team, made the move to Premier League side Everton in 2015 for a fee in the region of £2million.
Holgate played for England’s U21s in the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championships in Poland.