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Controversial referee Darren Drysdale in charge of Gillingham's game at Blackpool

by Eliot Goodyer

Controversial referee Darren Drysdale has been chosen to officiate Gillingham’s crunch match with fellow play-off hopeful Blackpool.

During a League 1 clash between Ipswich Town and Northampton Town on February 16, Drysdale appeared to lock heads and exchange a war of words with Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge before booking him for simulation.

Referee Darren Drysdale will take charge of Gillingham's game at Blackpool
Referee Darren Drysdale will take charge of Gillingham's game at Blackpool

Drysdale then incurred a retrospective four-match ban by the FA for improper conduct despite his claim that Judge had made an offensive remark towards him.

The incident divided opinion with some people believing Drysdale’s actions were refreshing because of the notion that referees are often subjected to abhorrent abuse without ever exercising their authority in that way.

By contrast, others felt that Drysdale’s behaviour was unacceptable as he should be setting a better example as an EFL referee by not inciting such an incident.

His return came last Saturday when he presided over Oldham’s trip to Leyton Orient in League Two.

The Easter weekend will also see a woman officiate an EFL game for the first time as Rebecca Welch takes charge of Harrogate Town’s fixture against Port Vale tomorrow (Monday).

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