Blackpool's fixture against Gillingham to be officiated by referee who was banned after 'locking heads' with Ipswich Town player

The referee who was handed a four-match ban following an altercation with an Ipswich Town player is due to officiate Blackpool’s Easter Monday encounter against Gillingham.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 9:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 10:30 am

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Darren Drysdale was found guilty of improper conduct earlier this month when he locked heads and “snarled” in the face of Alan Judge, who had verbally abused him.

The incident occurred during Ipswich’s League One fixture with Gillingham when Drysdale stopped the game to book Judge for simulation in trying to win a penalty.

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Drysdale claimed Judge had called him a ‘cheating bald c***’ before they went head-to-head, but Judge denied this was the case.

“I said the incident was over as far as I was concerned when I walked off the pitch and that I wasn’t looking for an apology,” Judge told Ipswich’s official website.

“I didn’t want to make anything of it because it’s a tough job being a referee but I’m not going to keep quiet when I’ve been accused of calling the referee a cheat and using the C word.

“I’ll admit using the F word but I said to him ‘you have got to be F…… joking me and I said that a couple of times to him. I never used the C word. I don’t use that word and I didn’t call him a cheat.

Darren Drysdale will officiate Blackpool's game against Gillingham on Easter Monday

“My mum passed away last week – which is far more important than this – and I don’t need this hassle to be honest. Like I said, the matter was closed but I’ve got a decent reputation in the game and I won’t stand by and be accused of saying something I didn’t and not responding.

“Our media team have got some audio and it backs me up. Some people have said I should have come out straight away and explained what I said but I didn’t want to do that. I was trying to help Darren. I said the matter was finished and it was but I have to make it clear now that I totally dispute what has been said by the referee.”

Drysdale returned from his ban last week as he took charge of Leyton Orient’s League Two fixture against Oldham.

The Lincolnshire-based official, who is also a sergeant in the RAF, will be the fourth official for Bradford City’s game against Forest Green Rovers on Good Friday.

The 50-year-old will then take charge of Blackpool’s game against Gillingham at Bloomfield Road the following Monday.

It will be the second Blackpool game Drysdale has officiated this season, having been the man in the middle for the 5-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic in February.

Elsewhere, Rebecca Welch will become the first female referee to officiate an EFL game on Monday.

The highest-ranking female referee in English football will take charge of the League Two clash between Harrogate Town and Port Vale.

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