Didier Drogba denies signing anti-Israel petition

The Ivorian captain says he never set eyes on such a document and never put his signature to it amid reports he supported the initiative alongside other African footballers

Didier Drogba on Wednesday said he did not sign a pro-Palestinian petition denouncing the hosting of the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in Israel, days after his name appeared on a list of about 60 professional footballers calling for the event to be moved from the Jewish state in the wake of fresh conflict with Palestine.

The former Chelsea striker said on his website that his name was on the list of the signatories but did not personally sign the petition.

“My name was on a list of signatories of a petition supporting Palestine,” Drogba wrote.

“Please note, I did not sign this petition or give my support to this initiative, because I have never got involved in any conflict.

“I’ve never taken sides in any conflict whatsoever even in my own country Cote D’Ivoire. My goal has always been to work for reconciliation, but also to try to fight against all forms of injustice and discrimination, especially as I try to do through the Didier Drogba Foundation,” he added.

However, French-born former Mali striker Frederic Kanoute, who now plays in China with Beijing Gunan, has confirmed signing the petition.

“I received from friends, the Declaration on Palestine asking me if I wanted to sign. I, like many other players, agreed to do so as a gesture of solidarity with the Gaza people living under occupation,” the former Sevilla forward wrote on his website on Wednesday.