A foundation set up by former Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba to help poor communities in the Ivory Coast is to be investigated by the charities watchdog.
The Charity Commission said it had “serious regulatory concerns about a number of compliance issues” raised following a Daily Mail investigation of the Didier Drogba Foundation.
The Mail reported that less than 1% of the £1.7m raised by the foundation in the UK had gone to worthy causes in the west African country.
The footballer described the allegations as “factually incorrect and libellous”, said he was issuing legal proceedings, and claimed the Mail was “jeopardising the lives of many thousands of African children”.
Drogba said: “The effect on these kids, in need of healthcare and education, is unimaginable.
“They have already caused an untold amount of damage by contacting all of my sponsors, my colleagues, and many of my friends, who generously helped the foundation with donations, and put doubts in their mind about whether to continue to support us in the future.
“I come from a poor family and I had to work hard to get where I am today, but this would mean nothing to me if I wasn’t able to give back to my country, my continent, and my community.”
The 38-year-old striker, who currently plays in Canada, said he wants to use the foundation to help children from his home country become the next generation of politicians, scientists, doctors, teachers, and sports people by providing them with education and healthcare.
Celebrity backers of the foundation include David Beckham, Bono, Frank Lampard, and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
The Mail reported that the foundation’s accounts allegedly showed that £14,115 has gone to needy causes, with more than £439,321 spent on fundraising events.
It reported that the charity also currently holds more than £1m in reserves.
Drogba said: “Despite their claims, there is no fraud, no corruption, no mismanagement, no lies, no impropriety.
“The foundation was established in the Ivory Coast, in 2007, and retains proof of every single payment made and received.
“We have all the documentation required by law, both in the UK and the Ivory Coast.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved