The International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) has suspended the Ivorian Footballers Association (AFI) for failing to endorse the candidature of FA Presidential aspirant, Didier Drogba.
The AFI was one of four bodies to refuse to endorse the former Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker.
Instead, they opted to back the current FIF vice-president Idriss Diallo in the September 5 election, prompting FIFPro’s decision.
“Following the decision of the Board of the Association of Ivorian Footballers (AFI) dated July 13, 2020, relating to the sponsorship of a candidate for the election of the president of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF), a decision made public by means of a press release and since confirmed by you in the Ivorian media, as president of AFI, we, Philippe Piat, president of FIFPRO, and Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, general secretary of FIFPro, pronounce the suspension of the Association of Ivorian Footballers with immediate effect. ”
FIFPro said it was disappointed that the Association would refuse to support Drogba, who is a founding member of the AFI and current 2nd Vice President.
According to FIFPro, AFI’s decision “testifies to a flagrant forgetting of this obligation and a total lack of consideration towards your members, other players playing in Ivorian Championships and Ivorian expatriate footballers, international or not. You cannot ignore the desire, expressed many times, to see AFI give its sponsorship to a former player, who is also a founding member and vice-president of their Association.”
FIFPro, however, added that there have been a number of statutory breaches by the AFI over the years but failure to support Drogba even though “the Associations/Unions that are members of FIFPRO are at the service of footballers” was the final straw.
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FIFPro added that it had requested several times for AFI to back its members, all of which were ignored by the group.
“You preferred to go against those whom you must represent, whose voice you owe it to yourself without condition and according to the expression of the greatest number – an association of players not being a grouping with the object of ensuring the minority expression of a few people inhabited by political ambitions.”
The only main interest group in Ivorian football to back Drogba so far are the dissident Referees.
However, this has led to concerns that his application might be invalidated.