Mason Holgate: Everton defender given formal warning for tweets

Mason Holgate joined Everton from Barnsley in August 2015.
Mason Holgate joined Everton from Barnsley in August 2015.

Everton defender Mason Holgate has been given a formal warning by the Football Association after allegations he posted homophobic tweets in 2012.

The 21-year-old has been told to undertake a "mandatory FA inclusion programme" after posts - sent from his account when he was 15 - emerged after Everton's FA Cup defeat by Liverpool.

Holgate was playing for Barnsley when the tweets were posted.

The FA said it had "considered all of the available evidence".

That included Holgate's response, and one from the club.

Holgate, an England Under-21 international, deleted his Twitter account after January's FA Cup tie at Anfield, during which he alleged Liverpool's Roberto Firmino used a "discriminatory term" towards him.

An FA investigation concluded the evidence was "not sufficient" to charge the Brazilian.

Firmino, 26, admitted he insulted Holgate in Portuguese, but denied using discriminatory language.

In 2016 former Burnley striker Andre Gray was given a four-match ban for homophobic posts he also made on Twitter in 2012.

Gray, now at Watford, was also fined £25,000, warned as to his future conduct and ordered to attend an FA education course.

He later said he was now a "completely different person" to the one who posted the messages and he did not "hold the beliefs written in those tweets".

On Wednesday Holgate, who has made 21 appearances for Everton this season, withdrew from the England under-21 squad for games against Romania on Saturday and Ukraine on Tuesday, to undergo ankle surgery.

More to follow.

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