Referee Darren Drysdale charged by FA with improper conduct after squaring up to Ipswich's Alan Judge

Referee Darren Drysdale has been charged by the FA with improper conduct after squaring up to and pressing heads against Ipswich Town’s Alan Judge in their 0-0 draw with Northampton.

Drysdale and Judge exchanged words in the 90th minute after the midfielder’s appeal for a penalty had been turned down before the 49-year-old Lincolnshire official leant into Judge.

Ipswich pair Flynn Downes and Jack Lankester and Northampton defender Lloyd Jones stepped in and calmed the situation before Drysdale booked Judge.

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Drysdale apologised for the incident on Wednesday, saying: “I fully understand that it is important for us as referees to maintain our composure throughout the game and always engage with players in a professional manner.”

In a statement, the FA said: “Darren Drysdale has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 following last night’s EFL League One game between Ipswich Town FC and Northampton Town FC.


Regulation and Discipline update from The @FA.

“It is alleged that the match official’s behaviour during the 90th minute of the game amounts to improper conduct and he has until Thursday 4 March 2021 to provide a response.”

Speaking after the game, Ipswich boss Paul Lambert had urged the FA to “do the right thing” in its handling of the incident and confirmed that he had spoken to Mike Jones (head of EFL referees) regarding it.

“I think the apology is very soft – it’s easy to say sorry after the event,” Lambert told Sky Sports News. “What happened was incredible, I’ve never seen that, for a referee to go head-to-head with a player.

“He had to get pulled away by the Northampton players and at that time he’s out of control. What would have happened to Alan Judge if he’d done that to the referee? He’d have been looking at a six-month ban, a one-year ban and a massive fine.”

Drysdale, who was appointed to the National List of referees covering EFL games in 2004, has also been a FIFA and UEFA assistant referee and was an assistant referee at the 2000 FA Cup final.

‘Keeping calm is everything for a referee’

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher said Drysdale made the crucial mistake of losing his calmness and composure – something all referees must always have.

“It’s great that he’s apologised, that’s first class and it acknowledges that he lost his composure for a few seconds on the pitch,” he said.

“It will take its course now. I don’t know what was said – it’s unusual for a referee to react like that and you have to commend the players for what they did, they defused it very quickly.

“It’s interesting that the few times referees get in trouble, the players always pull together to look after them if they get injured or whatever. The players were absolutely excellent in this situation.

“No matter how heated it gets, you still have to maintain this little bit of distance and stay calm, that’s the be-all and end-all for referees because if you’re composed that’s when you make good decisions.

“It’s tough at times, it’s the nature of the beast. You know it’s not going to be a walk in the park. The tough times come and you have to deal with them.”

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