The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed Didier Drogba’s claim that he was stripped of the African Footballer of the Year award because he refused to attend the awards ceremony.
CAF had initially denied Drogba’s claim that he was informed the trophy would be presented to Fredi Kanoute if he did not collect the award in person.
But in a statement they backed up the Ivory Coast star’s claim.
“Any player who is absent at its award ceremony will not be taken into consideration in placements of African footballer of the year,” it said.
“This decision was communicated to all those concerned on February 1 with particular reference to the award ceremony scheduled for Lome, Togo,” read the statement.
The Ivory Coast striker refused to attend as he is on duty for his country at the African Nations Cup in neighbouring Ghana.
The Chelsea player revealed this week: “I received a call in the afternoon (on Friday) from a high ranking CAF official.
“He told me that if I didn’t appear at the ceremony the rules would be changed, that I would no longer be first and that the prize would go to the runner-up, Frederic Kanoute.”
Sevilla striker Kanoute duly received the honour, with Drogba’s Chelsea teammate Michael Essien, who was released by Ghana to attend, in second and Drogba third.
“If I refused to go to Lome it was first for my teammates as you don’t organise such an event just two days before a quarter-final (Monday’s game against Guinea).
“I didn’t go as well because of the son of Ulrich Stilieke (the former Ivory Coast coach) has died,” explained Drogba.
Drogba said he would boycott future African Footballer of the Year awards in protest at his treatment.