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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Football star’s charity to sue Daily Mail over funds claim

This news post is about 7 years old

​Regulator found problems at former Chelsea star's foundation - but not "serious wrongdoing"

Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba has vowed to sue the Daily Mail after it alleged wrongdoing at his charity.

The player reacted with fury after a regulator exonerated his self-named foundation.

Earlier this year the right-wing tabloid had splashed a story alleging the charity had misled donors, claiming it spent just 1% of income on charitable activities.

The Charity Commission investigated and while it found that Drogba’s foundation had governance failings, it was not fraudulent or corrupt.

I have instructed my lawyers to seek a full apology and damages to be paid to my foundation from the Daily Mail

Specifically it found a lack of adequate record-keeping, and said the charity did not have enough trustees.

It did find that the footballer’s charity may have misled donors over the links between itself and another charity set up by Drogba in his homeland, the Ivory Coast.

It also found that “financial records provided by the bank did not support the level of charitable activity claimed to have been undertaken by the charity in its accounts and published material”.

However, it found no evidence of serious wrongdoing.

In its report, the regulator stated: “We have been able to satisfy our most serious concerns in relation to the charity by confirming that funds have not been misapplied and that all funds raised in the English charity’s name have been held by the English charity.

“We are also able to confirm that we found no evidence of fraud or corruption on behalf of the charity.

“We have issued the charity with an action plan to ensure that the outstanding concerns, particularly with regard to transparency to donors and the public, are addressed by the charity’s trustees.”

In a statement, Didier Drogba said: "The Charity Commission has confirmed after a seven-month investigation that no funds have been misapplied by my foundation, and that there has been no financial wrongdoing, no fraud and no corruption.

"I am pleased that this supports what we always said from the start which is that the claims made by the Daily Mail back in April were entirely false. I have instructed my lawyers to seek a full apology and damages to be paid to my Foundation from the Daily Mail."

A Daily Mail spokesman said: "The Charity Commission report does not exonerate the Didier Drogba Foundation.

"On the contrary, it confirms the allegations we made: that the charity raised £1.7 million in the UK but almost all of those funds either went to pay for fundraising balls or sat in UK accounts; that less than 1% of this money was spent on charitable activity; that the charity’s accounts were misleading in recording the cost of the fundraising balls as charitable activity; that the charity misled donors into thinking that their money was going to beneficiaries in Africa; that the charity did not have appropriate trustees as they lived abroad and none were independent.

"The report does state that it found no evidence of fraud or corruption at the Didier Drogba Foundation. However, the Daily Mail never accused the charity of fraud or corruption."