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FA aware of alleged tweets by Everton's Mason Holgate - source

Steve Nicol discusses Ross Barkley's move from Everton to Chelsea and the 24 year old's hopes of making England's World Cup squad.

The Football Association is aware of allegedly anti-gay tweets from the account of Everton defender Mason Holgate, but has no timescale on potential investigation into the matter, a source has told ESPN FC.

Tweets from Holgate's Twitter account, since deleted, containing offensive language dating back to 2012 and 2013 have been brought to the attention of the FA's disciplinary unit.

But with English football's governing body in the process of collecting evidence relating to the allegation concerning Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino towards Holgate during last Friday's FA Cup third round tie, that case will be prioritised by the FA over Holgate's alleged tweets.

Referee Bobby Madley has submitted a report to the FA mentioning the first-half incident and spoke to the fourth official moments after the incident before continuing with the game.

The FA will seek television footage and the assistance of both clubs during its investigation, but sources have told ESPN FC that the process will not be rushed and is likely to be prolonged due to the nature of the allegations.

Following allegations made by Manchester United's Patrice Evra against Liverpool's Luis Suarez in October 2011, a month passed before Suarez was charged with using "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour contrary to FA rules," including "a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra."

A further month passed before Suarez was issued with an eight-match ban and £40,000 after the charge was upheld by an independent commission.

The FA retains the power to take action against Holgate over his social media activity, despite the length of time since they were allegedly posted.

Andre Gray, then of Burnley, was banned for four games in 2016 as a result of anti-gay tweets posted four years earlier during his time with non-league club Hinckley United.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_

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