(Reuters) - Referee Darren Drysdale has been handed a back-dated suspension after confronting Ipswich Town midfielder Alan Judge on the pitch last month and is free to officiate again, the FA said on Thursday.
Drysdale, 49, locked heads with Judge after the Ireland international's appeal for a penalty in a League One game against Northampton Town had been turned down.
"The match official admitted that his behaviour during the 90th minute of an EFL League One tie between Ipswich Town and Northampton Town on Tuesday 16 February 2021 amounted to improper conduct," the FA said in a statement.
Drysdale, who apologised for the confrontation, told the FA's Regulatory Commission that he lost his cool when Judge shouted at him and said he was "cheating".
"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," he said.
"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."
The FA said the suspension ran from Feb. 19 to March 10 as Judge had been removed from refereeing EFL games in that period and it would have been a "disproportionate penalty" for him to serve suspension of another four games.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)