Published August 29, 2012
Dispute between Shanghai Shenhua owner, partners could force Didier Drogba out.
The Oriental Sports Daily reported that an "escalated equity stake rift among" Shanghai Shenhua FC's major stakeholders could have caused Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, "two of the biggest names in the Chinese Super League," to have played their last match with Shenhua over the weekend, according to Yan Weijue of the CHINA DAILY. Shenhua Owner Zhu Jun, who holds 28.5% of the holdings, "will only cover his share of the club's daily expenditure, if his request for a large stake transfer is not met in the coming days." The club, along with Zhu, is owned by five other state-owned enterprises: Shanghai SVA Group, Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group, Huangpu Investment Ltd., Shanghai SVA Electric Group Co. Ltd. and Shanghai SVA Information Industry Co. Ltd. When Zhu became a shareholder of the club in '07, the two sides agreed that if Zhu would invest 150M yuan ($23.6M) over the next two years "his stake would increase" more than 70% with the increment transferred from the five other enterprises. It is reported that over the past five and a half years, Zhu has put more than 600M yuan ($94.4M) into the club, while the five SOEs "racked up zero" (CHINA DAILY, 8/27
). REUTERS' Alastair Himmer noted that if the stalemate stays unresolved, Zhu, who has been signing all of the checks, "could decide to cough up just 28.5% of the club's expenditure," potentially affecting player salaries. The futures of Drogba and Anelka "could be in balance" if Shenhua fails to make its salary payments. Both players earn more than $300,000 per week (REUTERS, 8/28
). WILD EAST FOOTBALL's Cameron Wilson noted that there has been "no mention of how Shenhua would rid themselves of the considerable contractual obligations they have toward the superstar pair." Zhu may "simply reach some kind of compensatory agreement with them," if he decides to withdraw his investment from the club (WILDEASTFOOTBALL.net