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· Banned
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A distinctly unimpressed Chelsea last night banned their striker Didier Drogba
from attending the launch of his own anti-racism song.

In the wake of the furore caused by Chelsea striker Didier Drogba's outspoken
comments about the club and his determination to leave it - comments which the
Ivorian now says he regrets - the Premier League outfit stopped him attending
the launch of 'Skin' - an anti-racism single.

Drogba and team-mate Michael Essien did the backing vocals on the track.

A Chelsea spokesman said: “It was decided that in the circumstances it would be
best not to distract attention from what is a very worthy cause.â€

Chelsea had earlier promised that Drogba would attend, but in the event only
Essien turned up for the press conference.

And The Sun also claims this morning that another reason why Drogba went
public with his critical comments about Chelsea own Roman Abramovich and the
dismissal of Jose Mourinho is that the club have allegedly "not honoured a
promise to give him a pay rise."

According to the newspaper, after last season's FA Cup final victory in which
Drogba scored the extra-time winner against Manchester United, he was assured
a wage rise in recognition of his outstanding season for the Londoners.

However, five months later, Chelsea's hierarchy have not apparently followed
through on their promise.

That and what happened to Mourinho are said to have been the triggers for
Drogba's heart-felt outburst in an interview with France Football magazine.

Mourinho's successor Avram Grant is reportedly now seeking to clear the air with
Drogba, who has said he wants to leave Stamford Bridge.

Grant admitted: “I haven't seen him yet. I need to see him then I could tell you. I
don't like to speak about players in the papers, Id like to discuss it with them.â€

But the Israeli claimed that Drogba's comments had not affected morale within
the Chelsea dressing-room.

He said: “I'm very happy with the atmosphere and I'm sure it will continue.

“I told the players anything they want to say — even if it's negative — they need
to say it to me.

“It's not the first time Didier has said he wants to leave Chelsea.

“But it's the first time we'll discuss it — but not in public. Then I'll tell you what I'm
going to do.â€

Grant would not reveal whether Ivory Coast star Drogba would start today's
Prmier League game against Middlesbrough.

He simply said: "Wait and see.â€
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