Shanghai Shenhua news

Didier Drogba seeks OK to move

November 21, 2012
By Associated Press

GENEVA -- Didier Drogba has asked FIFA for special permission to move on loan from his Chinese club despite being outside the official transfer window.

FIFA said Wednesday it is considering the former Chelsea forward's request for an exemption from international rules.

"The FIFA administration services are looking into it," FIFA said in a statement.

Drogba's season with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua finished this month.

If FIFA grants Drogba's request, the 34-year-old Ivory Coast captain could play for a new team to prepare for the African Cup of Nations, which kicks off on Jan. 19 in South Africa.

Existing rules prevent Drogba from representing another club until Jan. 1.

Even if FIFA relented and Chelsea was allowed to sign Drogba on a short-term contract, he could not play in its must-win final Champions League group match against Nordsjaelland on Dec. 5.

Champions League teams must register their squad lists for the group stage with UEFA in September before their first match.

FIFA has upheld the rules in previous cases when David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan had to wait until January to make loan moves to Europe after the Major League Soccer season ended.

Drogba signed a contract through 2014 with Shanghai weeks after helping Chelsea win the Champions League title in May. He scored an 88th-minute equalizer against Bayern Munich, then struck the winning penalty in the shootout.

Drogba was back at Stamford Bridge on Nov. 11 to see his old team draw 1-1 with Liverpool.