Premiership footballer Mason Holgate is facing a ban from the game after the FA opened an investigation into alleged homophobic tweets sent by the Everton centre-back.
The 21-year-old is under threat of a misconduct charge and a possible match suspension after past tweets were uncovered in which he used a series of homophobic slurs, The Times reports.
The FA's disciplinary department is investigating claims that tweets were posted from Holgate's verified account @MasonHolgateee in 2012 and 2013 which used offensive language including "fag", "faggotttttttttt" and "battyboy".
The tweets came to light after Holgate accused an opposing team member of using racist language during Everton's FA Cup third-round defeat by Liverpool at Anfield last Friday (January 5).
Holgate accused Liverpool player Roberto Firmino of calling him the 'n'-word during a fiery clash mid-match, prompting scrutiny of Holgate's own language on social media from seemingly vengeful fans.
The England Under-21 international player has since deleted his Twitter account.
Though Holgate was just aged 15-16 when the offending tweets were posted, the FA is likely to take a dim view of the messages: In 2016, Burnley striker Andre Gray was handed a four-match ban and £25,000 fine over a series of violent homophobic tweets he sent in 2012.
The FA will investigate the claims of homophobia seperately to Holgate's complaint of racial abuse.