The referee Darren Drysdale has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association over his confrontation with Ipswich’s Alan Judge, hours after he apologised for his behaviour.
The 49-year-old official admitted he lost his composure and did not conduct himself in a professional manner when he appeared to square up to Judge and lean his head into the Republic of Ireland international after the midfielder’s appeal for a penalty against Northampton on Tuesday was turned down.
“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,” Drysdale said in a statement issued via Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). “I’m sorry that I did not do that last night and I can only apologise to Alan and Ipswich Town.”
The FA said: “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.”
Ipswich’s manager, Paul Lambert, had earlier called on the EFL to investigate the incident in the League One match. It is understood the club will not, though, make a formal complaint.
Lambert told TalkSport on Wednesday: “I’ve texted Mike Jones [the EFL head of referees] this morning to say: ‘Have a look at the footage of the head thing.’
“To me, in my opinion, it looks as if the referee went in there and I said to him after the game: ‘Did you put your head in my player?’ He couldn’t answer it and that’s the reason I spoke to Mike. I haven’t seen that in a long, long while.”
The incident happened in the closing stages of the goalless draw at Portman Road. Ipswich’s Flynn Downes and Jack Lankester and the Northampton defender Lloyd Jones stepped in and calmed the situation before Drysdale booked Judge.
It is understood the PGMOL was due to hold discussions with Ipswich as well as with Drysdale.
Drysdale, appointed to the National List of referees covering EFL games in 2004, has been a Fifa and Uefa assistant referee and was an assistant at the 2000 FA Cup final.