Didier Drogba has been refused permission by Fifa to make an immediate loan move away from Shanghai Shenhua.
The Ivory Coast striker was linked with a return to former club Chelsea following the end of the Chinese Super League this month.
However, his hopes of sealing this move were dashed by the governing body as he looked to build his fitness ahead of the African Cup of Nations which starts in January in South Africa.
Fifa said in a statement: "We can confirm that the player Didier Drogba submitted a request for authorisation to be registered outside an open registration period for a club on a loan basis.
"Fifa has informed him about the relevant regulations... that players may only be registered during one of the two annual registration periods fixed by the relevant association."
Fifa has maintained their rules which state no player can move outside the international transfer window, this has been the case where MLS players such as Thierry Henry and Landon Donavon have been forced to wait till January to complete their moves.