FIFA on Thursday gave Didier Drogba a temporary license to play for Turkish giant Galatasaray, although his contractual dispute with Shanghai Shenhua is still being investigated. The decision clears the former Chelsea striker to play in Galatasaray’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg clash against Schalke in Istanbul next Wednesday. However, FIFA says Drogba’s clearance is only given “without prejudice to and pending the outcome of a decision” in the contract case.
Drogba joined Shanghai Shenhua in a two-and-a-half year deal last summer following Chelsea’s Champions League triumph, but reports claim that his salary of $310,000 per week has caused the Chinese club financial problems. Meanwhile, Turkish newspapers claim that the players contract with Shenhua was null and void as he had not been paid for the past three months. As a result, Drogba signed an 18-month contract with Galatasaray at the end of January.
Two weeks ago, Shenhua released the following statement on its Web site: "The club is deeply shocked. Drogba is still a Shanghai Shenhua Football Club member as the contract between the two parties is still within its period of validity. The Shanghai Shenhua Football Club is ready to gather evidence and submit the findings to FIFA in order to protect its interests."