LONDON (AP) — An English referee was charged with misconduct by the Football Association on Wednesday for angrily squaring up to a player during a third division match.

Darren Drysdale apologized for appearing to touch heads with Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge near the end of Tuesday’s game before being ushered away by another player.

“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 by England’s referees’ body. “I’m sorry that I did not do that last night and I can only apologize to Alan and Ipswich Town.”

Drysdale has until March 4 to provide a response to the FA charge.

The match between Ipswich and Northampton ended in a 0-0 draw. Judge had been protesting after being penalized by Drysdale for diving.

Such confrontations are uncommon in English football, where there are around 30,000 active referees.


The FA has greater concerns about assaults by players or coaches on referees and the administration is seeking approval from the governing body’s board to extend the maximum ban from 10 years to life.

Premier League referee Mike Dean last week contacted the police after receiving death threats through social media messages on family accounts.

“A lot of our new referees, I’d say the majority, will be active on some form of social media,” FA national referee manager Farai Hallam said Wednesday. “We see it on any matchday, it requires a support network around you. As a referee, that’s invaluable.”


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