REF Darren Drysdale faces a three-game violent conduct ban – despite making a public apology to Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge.
Lincolnshire whistler Drysdale, 49, locked heads with the Irishman and seemed to square up to him in the latter stages of the Portman Road clash against Northampton.
The astonishing scenes saw Ipswich boss Paul Lambert demanding an investigation by the EFL and FA.
SunSport understands that Drysdale’s performance was criticised by players on both sides throughout the game.
But the referee is said to have flipped and used foul and abusive language when Judge insisted he had been brought down and not dived in a bid to win a spot kick.
In a statement issued through the ref’s governing body PGMOL, Drysdale said: “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.
“I’m sorry that I did not do that and I can only apologise to Alan and Ipswich Town.”
Aston Villa’s England internationals Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish suggested the FA should let the issue blow over.
Mings Tweeted: “Everyone makes mistakes…..nothing to see here.”
Grealish added: “Ah come on?! No need to apologise at all! I think it’s brilliant."
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But FA beaks had already opened a probe into the incident, likely to end with Drysdale being charged with violent conduct and banned for his behaviour.
The incident comes with the FA looking to scrap the current “maximum” 10-year ban for violence towards referees and allow life suspensions.
The FA insists grassroots officials have not been put off by incidents of violence and abuse but is keen to ensure younger referees remain convinced they can progress through to the highest levels of the game.
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