Ipswich Town: Club audio supports Alan Judge's claim he did not call referee Darren Drysdale a 'cheat' during confrontation

Ipswich say they have audio to support Alan Judge’s claim he did not call referee Darren Drysdale a cheat nor use the most serious of alleged swear words during the pair’s heated confrontation on the pitch last month.

Drysdale, who has been given a back-dated ban which allows him to return to officiating, told an independent panel last week that Judge had used a specific swear word in his direction, as well as describing the referee as “cheating” and “bald”, in the incident in Ipswich’s 0-0 draw at home to Northampton in League One on February 16.

Judge has disputed Drysdale’s account of the incident, which saw the official square up to and press heads against the Ipswich midfielder.

Judge declined the opportunity to participate in the hearing. However, in a statement on Thursday, suggested the club’s media team had evidence that backed him up.

Ipswich claim the audio, which has not been made public, picks up Judge’s reaction, during which they say the midfielder twice asked: ‘Are you [expletive] joking me ref?’

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In his statement, Judge said: “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.

“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.

Alan Judge has angrily disputed Darren Drysdale’s recall of the events at the end of Town’s game with Northampton last month that resulted in the referee being charged with improper conduct.

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“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.

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. The FA now consider the matter closed.

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