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Drogba’s teammates refuse practice over salary

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Former Chelsea star
Didier Drogba was set to return from
international duty Thursday and into a row
at his Shanghai Shenhua squad that has
seen teammates reportedly refuse to
practise over unpaid wages.
Shenhua players were said by Chinese
media to have protested on Monday over
the pay dispute, turning up late for practice
at the club’s training ground and taking a
leisurely stroll around a running track.
Media reports have said payments to some
players were skipped.
However, the team will play its next game
on Saturday as scheduled, club and league
officials said Thursday, in comments
suggesting the dispute had been laid to
Training had returned to normal after the
one-day protest, a club official told AFP,
declining further comment.
Drogba returns after scoring twice in Ivory
Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier
against Senegal on Saturday that had to be
abandoned in the second half because of
rioting fans.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Football
Association told AFP that a scheduled
match between ninth-placed Shenhua and
Changchun Yatai, who are two places
higher, would kick off as scheduled on
“The match will be on as planned,” he said.
Chinese media have reported that
Shenhua’s chief investor Zhu Jun has
threatened to withhold salaries of players
unless he is granted majority control of the
It was not clear whether the threat was the
reason behind the reportedly unpaid
In a posting on his microblog on
Wednesday, the flamboyant online gaming
tycoon said he “solemnly respected and
understood” the action by the players on
Previous reports had said that under a
2007 deal, Zhu’s 28.5 percent stake in
Shenhua would to rise to around 70
percent if he invested more than 150 million
yuan ($24 million). He has reportedly spent
600 million yuan.
China’s Soccer News newspaper reported
Thursday that the dispute was likely to be
settled by the end of this year with major
shareholders allowing Zhu’s share of the
club to increase to above 70 percent.

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Posted By KELLYCHI On 07:42 Thu, 18 Oct 2012

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