eferee Darren Drysdale is free to officiate again after being given a backdated ban for improper conduct following his clash with Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge.
Drysdale locked heads with Judge when the player contested his decision not to award a penalty while he was refereeing a 0-0 draw with Northampton on February 16.
Drysdale, who admitted a breach of FA rules and apologised for his actions, has been handed a back-dated four-match suspension which ran from February 19 to March 10. The 49-year-old has also been warned about his future conduct.
At a hearing, an independent regulatory commission was told Judge swore at Drysdale and called him a “cheating bald c***”.
Drysdale said the abuse he received from Judge was “the worst he had experienced as a referee”.
In the written reasons for the verdict published by the FA, Drysdale said he reacted to a “tirade of abuse” from Judge.
Drysdale said: “Alan Judge, in my opinion, exaggerates his fall in a desperate attempt to gain a penalty kick for his team. I then processed what had happened for a few seconds before blowing my whistle and decided to caution Alan Judge for an act of trying to deceive a match official.
“As I blew my whistle Alan Judge shouted aggressively in a loud voice at me and from a distance of only 5 metres “It’s a fucking penalty you cheating bald c***!”
“Reacting completely out of character, I took exception to what I considered to be an offensive comment. I walked towards Alan Judge who then continued his tirade of abuse as he then, what I deemed as, aggressively and provokingly pointed his finger towards my face and shouted, “You’re a fucking cheating c***!”.
“I accept that I should not have moved my head towards Alan Judge as this only inflamed the situation. At no time was there any physical contact between myself and Alan Judge.
“My action of moving forward was as a posture of authority and with the player being significantly shorter than me, this led to me looking down at him. I then issued a yellow card to Alan Judge for his exaggerated fall.”