Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge has disputed referee Darren Drysdale’s account of an on-field confrontation between the pair that led to the official being given a back-dated suspension.
It was confirmed on Thursday that an independent regulatory committee had given Drysdale a back-dated ban that would allow him to return to officiating, having been stood down by the FA since the League One match between Ipswich and Northampton on February 16, during which he squared up to Judge and pressed his head towards the midfielder’s.
In evidence from the hearing that was made public on Thursday, Drysdale alleged that Judge had used a specific swear word in his direction, as well as describing the referee as “cheating” and “bald”.
Judge declined the opportunity to participate in the hearing, but Ipswich released a statement on Thursday evening in which the Republic of Ireland international denied Drysdale’s claims, and suggested that the club’s media team have evidence to back him up.
“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 the club’s 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.
“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.”
The incident occurred as Judge went down in the opposition box claiming a penalty, and reacted angrily at Drysdale’s decision to book him for simulation, before the confrontation ensued. Drysdale, who publicly apologised, was later charged with improper conduct by the FA.
Judge, who has not faced any action from the FA regarding the incident, declined to testify at the hearing. Ipswich’s club secretary said the player denied using a specific swear word towards Drysdale, but agreed he had used other offensive language.
In his evidence to the independent committee, Drysdale admitted that he had made a mistake and claimed he had acted “completely out of character”.
The panel said that the correct action for Drysdale would have been to send off Judge.
Although Drysdale had not officially been suspended by the FA, the panel took the decision to backdate the ban given that he was removed from two games he had been appointed to in the week following the incident, and has not been selected since.