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Drogba appeals to FIFA after his candidacy is invalidated

By Alexis Billebault
Posted on Thursday, 3 September 2020 12:54

Didier Drogba presenting the Ballon d'Or prize ceremony in 2019
Didier Drogba presenting the Ballon d'Or prize ceremony in 2019 (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

When his candidacy for the presidency of the Ivorian Football Federation was invalidated by its electoral commission, Didier Drogba turned to FIFA. The latter suspended the process and appointed a committee to investigate.

The (bad) soap opera continues. The election to the presidency of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) to replace Sidy Diallo, is turning sour.

On August 26, the electoral commission of the FIF rejected the candidacies of Didier Drogba and Paul Kouadio Koffi, and validated those of Sory Diabaté, vice president of the Federation and president of the Professional Football League, and Idriss Diallo, former number two of the FIF.

False motives

A decision that immediately made the camp of the former striker and captain of the Ivorian national react. We are not even surprised by this decision,” said Eugène Diomandé, an influential member of the former striker’s campaign team. “The electoral commission is nothing more than a inside clique, putting forward false reasons to invalidate Didier Drogba’s candidacy, in contravention of the electoral code.”

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According to the FIF, some sponsorships of the former Marseille and Chelsea striker – for example Drogba’s sponsorship of the Africa Sports of Abidjan Division 1 club, and that of the body that oversees referees, AMAF-CI – would not be admissible.

Drogba decided to refer the matter to the FIFA, rather than filing an appeal. “What’s the point? To file an appeal would be to recognize the authority and competence of this committee. But we don’t recognize it,” Diomandé said.

“Everything is done so that Didier Drogba is not a candidate, because those who organize these maneuvers know very well that he has a very good chance of being elected,” adds the businessman and president of Séwé Sport de San-Pedro, a first league team in Cote d’Ivoire.

Fast FIFA

FIFA was quick to react, issuing a letter written by Senegalese Fatma Samoura, its general secretary.

  • It suspended the electoral process by asking the BIF to provide it with several documents “in order to have an overview and to intervene if necessary to ensure that the electoral process complies with the statutory and regulatory requirements of FIFA applicable to all its member associations.”
  • It also decided on September 1 to appoint a committee composed of two members of FIFA, CAF and a representative of the Union of West African Football Associations (UFOA). This committee will be in charge of hearing several people, including members of the electoral committee and the current president of the FIF.

Government silence

All Ivorian football now awaits the outcome of FIFA-CAF committee’s investigation. “We are optimistic about the candidacy of Didier Drogba, who continues to meet with local soccer players,” said Diomandé.

The government appears to be observing the many developments that are shaking Ivorian soccer, taking care not to interfere. “It’s even surprising. Usually, politicians always try to put their nose in the business of soccer. I was a candidate for election to the presidency of the FIF in 2011, and the politicians back then were much more present, says Salif Bictogo, president of the Stella Club of Adjamé. “But in this case, it has not backed either candidate. It is probably because of the October 31st election — the presidency has other fish to fry.”

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“It is likely that the state will not intervene and even hopes that the president of the BIF will be elected before the end of September. Because as long as it will not be the case, the competitions will not resume. And the players have been at a standstill for more than six months. It can’t last forever,” says Salif Bictogo.

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