Geneva, Nov 23: FIFA has denied Didier Drogba's request for special permission to leave Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua on loan ahead of the official transfer period, ending speculation he could join former club Chelsea immediately.
FIFA said it has informed Drogba he won't be exempted from international transfer rules while under contract with the Chinese Super League club, whose season ended this month, Xinhua reports.
Drogba, whose contract expires in 2014, can join another club on a permanent or temporary deal Jan 1.
The 34-year-old Cote D'Ivoire striker hoped to play extra matches to prepare for the African Cup of Nations, which kicks off Jan 19 in South Africa.
FIFA upheld its rules in previous cases when making Major League Soccer players David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan wait until January to make loan moves.