Thursday 23 November 2017

Drogba’s elibility to play in Champions League in question after Schalke protest

Galatasaray's Didier Drogba (L) is challenged by Schalke 04's Sead Kolasinac (R) in their Champions League match
Galatasaray's Didier Drogba (L) is challenged by Schalke 04's Sead Kolasinac (R) in their Champions League match

SCHALKE have launched a protest over Didier Drogba's inclusion in Galatasaray's line-up for last night's Champions League last-16 match in Istanbul.

The German side took a creditable 1-1 draw away from the first leg of the European tie but have raised questions over Gala's use of the former Chelsea striker.

Drogba signed for Galatasaray at the end of January after ending his short stay with Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua amid claims he had not been paid his salary.

Shenhua countered that Drogba was in breach of his contract and it fell to FIFA to provisionally clear the way for the Ivorian to make his Galatasaray debut last week.

Schalke nevertheless have misgivings about Drogba's participation last night and contacted UEFA today in a bid for clarification.

"We decided after a thorough legal advice to take this step," general manager Horst Heldt said in a statement on club website

"It is our duty to examine their eligibility to play Drogba."

Drogba agreed to join Galatasaray on January 28, three days before UEFA's deadline relating to the registration of players for the last 16 of the Champions League.

The contract wrangle with Shenhua meant Drogba did not receive international clearance from FIFA to make his Galatasaray debut until February 13.

Article 18.18 of UEFA's Champions League regulations states that the February 1 deadline for registering players for the knockout stage cannot be extended.

Schalke's chief financial officer Peter Peters said: "There is the suspicion that he received his eligibility after the end of the deadline to register the player for the UEFA Champions League.

"Before each game UEFA states that every club has to take responsibility for the players used.

"It is now up to UEFA to decide and Schalke will respect this process," said Peters.

It is understood UEFA have received Schalke's complaint, which will be passed to the organisation's disciplinary panel for investigation.

Press Association

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