July 27 – FIFPro has taken the highly unusual step of suspending its Ivory Coast member for not supporting the bid of Didier Drogba, the country’s most iconic player, to become the next president of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF).
The Ivory Coast Footballers Association is one of five bodies without whose endorsement candidates cannot enter the presidential race.
But in a move that smacked of classic African football politics, it recently announced it is backing current FIF vice-president Idriss Diallo ahead of Drogba, the country’s all-time leading top scorer with 65 goals from 105 appearances.
“The Board of FIFPro Africa dissociates itself from the position of AFI, who refused to sponsor Didier Drogba, presidential candidate of FIF and deprives its founding member and vice-president of the legitimate support he was entitled to expect from his own family,” a tweet stated.
A letter signed by FIFPro President Philippe Piat went even further, saying the local association would be losing all its rights as a FIFPro member.
The letter reportedly cited the “iniquitous decision” of the AFI saying it is likely “to have a negative impact, in the Ivory Coast and beyond, on the defence of footballers, the chief objective of FIFPro and its members”.
“Your decision shows a flagrant omission of this obligation and a total lack of consideration for your members.”
FIFPro added that the AFI had been guilty of “various serious statutory breaches” in recent years and that the decision to snub Drogba had failed to take into account the “strictly democratic expression of the will of Ivorian footballers.”
In its response, AFI insisted it acted in totally good faith.
“AFI would like to recall that it is completely independent ….and takes into account the best interests of Ivorian footballers,” it said.
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