Didier Drogba's request to leave Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhau on loan, before the opening of the transfer window, has been rejected. The Ivory Coast international striker asked FIFA for permission to move to former club Chelsea, to train and retain match fitness ahead of the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
A statement from FIFA reads: "We can confirm that the player Didier Drogba submitted a request for authorisation to be registered outside an open registration period for a club on a loan basis. FIFA has informed him about the relevant regulations... that players may only be registered during one of the two annual registration periods fixed by the relevant association."
The forward was hoping to be able to spend time with his former club ahead of the pan-African tournament, which starts on 19 January. He is the captain of the Ivory Coast national team.
"It will first be necessary that I ask permission from Shanghai and Chelsea. If everyone agrees, it is possible I will go and train there until the African Cup starts. But that is all it will be," he was quoted as saying.
Drogba spent eight seasons with the Stamford Bridge club, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances. His most important contribution, however, was in the final months of last season, when the powerful Ivorian scored the winning goal in the FA Cup final against Liverpool and then a dramatic 88th minute equaliser in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. The 34 year old then completed a fairy tale end to his time at Stamford Bridge by converting the winning penalty.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year (2006, 2009) winner left the Blues this summer, to move to Shanghai Shenua on a reported £300,000 per week salary.
The Chinese league ended on 3 November, with Guanzhou Evergrande winning a second consecutive championship, under former Italy national coach Marcello Lippi. Drogba and Shenhau finished ninth in the 16-team competition, with 38 points from 30 games. The African scored eight goals in 11 appearances for the club.