FIFA provisionally approved his transfer from Shanghai Shenhua to Galatasaray on Wednesday, granting the Ivorian striker a licence to play for the Turkish club, according to Sky Sports.
“The Single Judge of FIFA’s Players’ Status Committee has authorised Turkish FF to provisionally register Didier Drogba,” Sky Sports reports a statement on FIFA Media’s Twitter page read.
“The Drogba decision is without prejudice and pending outcome of decision as to the substance of the contractual dispute with former club.”
There was some doubt about Drogba’s Galatasaray transfer since Shanghai Shenhua claimed the former Chelsea star was still under contract and that it never authorized his Turkey move. Drogba’s representatives say the Chinese club missed salary payments, which would allow him to join a new club on a free transfer. It appears that FIFA is siding with Drogba — at least in the immediate term.
It was only in July that Drogba made the shock move to Shanghai. At the time, he said that he wanted to strengthen ties between the people of Africa and China, but the symbolism couldn’t withstand the lack of substance. He only played 11 Chinese Super League games (scoring eight goals), but Shanghai struggled and finished ninth in the 16-team CSL.
A boardroom dispute thrust the club into turmoil and some players went unpaid. Drogba never publicly indicated that he was not receiving his £250,000 ($395,000) per-week salary, but he was apparently affected along with the rest of the squad.
FIFA’s announcement officially brings the 34-year-old’s Chinese adventure to an end. He completed his physical exam Monday, and his new career in Turkey should begin in the coming days or weeks.