Istanbul: Uefa have confirmed that they have rejected a protest from Schalke over the eligibility of Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba.
The Bundesliga outfit lodged an appeal over the Ivorian`s inclusion in the Super Lig winners` Champions League squad, with general manager Horst Heldt claiming it would be "negligent" if they did not do so.
Galatasaray themselves dismissed speculation that they fielded Drogba illegally as "nonsense", and Uefa have now backed up the Turkish side`s stance.
A statement released on their website read: "Having examined all the documents of the case, the Control and Disciplinary Body decided to reject the protest lodged by Schalke."
The German side`s head of finances Peter Peters insisted in a statement on the club`s official website that they would respect the decision, adding that they were only seeking clarity on the issue.
"We said from the beginning this was just to make the situation clear," he said. "And to get that was only possible by protesting, since it was the only way the necessary documents would be checked. That is what happened. We will respect Uefa`s verdict."
Galatasaray later realeased a statement confirming the news to their supporters, underlining that Uefa had rejected Schalke`s protest "in the light of documents presented" to the governing body`s committee.
Drogba joined Galatasaray in January on a free transfer which was ratified by Fifa, after terminating his contract with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua over claims of unpaid wages.
The 34-year-old will now be free to play for Fatih Terim`s side in the return leg of their Champions League tie in Gelsenkirchen on March 3.