The Confederation of African Football has admitted that players absent from the African Footballer of the Year ceremony were ruled out of contention for the award.
Mali striker Fredi Kanoute attended the prize-giving last Friday and was named player of the year, but Didier Drogba later claimed he would have won the award had he been present.
The Ivory Coast forward was unable to turn up to the event in Togo as he was preparing for his side's Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against Guinea.
CAF chief communications director Suleiman Habuba had denied telling Drogba and Kanoute they had to attend the ceremony to have a chance of winning.
But a statement has now been issued revealing that players were warned about the consequences of not coming.
"The executive committee of CAF at its meeting held in Accra on February 1 decided that henceforth any player who is absent at its award ceremony will not be taken into consideration in its placements of best African footballer of the year," said CAF in a statement.
"This decision was communicated to all those concerned on February 1 with particular reference to the award ceremony scheduled for (the same day in) Lome, Togo."