February 17, 2021 4.17 pm This story is over 17 months old

Lincolnshire referee apologises for heated on-field exchange

It was the talk of the footballing world

Lincolnshire referee Darren Drysdale has said he “did not maintain his composure” after a square off saw him lock heads with an Ipswich Town player during a game.

Drysdale, an RAF sergeant from Waddington, made national headlines on Tuesday evening when he went head to head in a heated exchange with Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge.

The Ipswich player was frustrated at not being awarded a penalty during the side’s goalless League One draw with Northampton Town.

Judge, 32, appeared to aim a comment in the direction of referee Drysdale, 49, who then charged towards the Irish midfielder and squared up to him face to face.

The referee had to be held back by Northampton defender Lloyd Jones, before he eventually calmed down and issued a yellow card to Judge for simulation.

In a statement from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), Drysdale apologised to both Judge and Ipswich Town.

He said: “I fully understand it is important for us as referees to maintain our composure throughout the game and always engage with players in a professional manner.

“I’m sorry that I did not do that.”

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has asked the EFL to call an investigation into the referee’s conduct, which PGMOL has confirmed to go ahead.

In the game, Drysdale issued five yellow cards, including for Alan Judge, before sending off Ipswich’s Flynn Downes for violent conduct.

The incident caused a stir on social media, with some calling for him to be sacked, but most were full of praise for his stern approach to the game.