How Kerala Blasters claimed compensation from FIFA for Sandesh Jhingan’s injury – Explained

Mohammed Rafik, the director of football at Kerala Blasters, played a key role in Blasters demanding compensation …

In a rare case in Indian football, a club received monetary compensation from FIFA for one of their player’s long-term injuries. The club in question is Kerala Blasters and the player is Sandesh Jhingan.

Jhingan missed the entire 2019-2020 Indian Super League (ISL) season due to a knee injury he sustained in a training match while playing for the Indian national team against NorthEast United ahead of the Blue Tigers FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The 27-year-old twisted his knee in an off-ball incident causing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) to rupture and the defender has been confirmed to be out of action for months.

It was a blow to his employers, Kerala Blasters, who were preparing to enter the ISL season under the guidance of then-coach Eelco Schattorie. Jhingan was a vital cog in the team, the skipper and a big fan favorite.

He was also a well-paid member of the squad and clubs would have to cover all necessary expenses, including his salary during the term of the contract, whether or not the contracted player was fit to play after he was signed.

Some clubs also usually have contractual insurances in place to cover emergencies, but in this particular case the Kerala Blasters officials, under the leadership of Director of Football Mohammed Rafik, were very familiar with their rights. The club received compensation from FIFA as part of one of its protection plans.

What is the club protection program?

Blaster management used FIFA Club Protection Program (CPP) which aims to compensate football clubs if a contracted player is injured while representing his association (in this case the Indian national team) during the FIFA window of international matches and is excluded for more than 28 consecutive days.

Under the CPP, football clubs can claim compensation when their players are injured in the long term while traveling with their national team. The amount received will be based on the fixed salary of the player mentioned in his contract and the maximum compensation that clubs can obtain is 7,500,000 euros per football player and per accident. The maximum of 7,500,000 EUR is calculated with a maximum daily limit of 20,548 EUR payable for a maximum of 365 days.

How did Kerala Blasters work?

The Blasters were aware of the existence of the CPP and filed a claim within 28 days from the date of the injury, in accordance with FIFA’s mandate. The player recovered from the injury on October 9, 2019. The club filed the claim on November 6 and received the first payment of their compensation a year later. The club is compensated for the period starting from the 29th day of the injury until the day it resumes training.

CPP claim requests are handled by a UK based third party administrator QuestGates. It is believed that the club sent them all the required documents, including a copy of the player’s contract and medical documents as well as a schedule and daily schedule for the player’s treatment and rehabilitation, signed by the doctor of the national team after the nod of the Indian FA. The process also requires the player’s signature at the time of filing the application, but after that the communication is entirely between the club and the administrator.

They received a sum of 70 INR lakh.

During a period when clubs are struggling with their finances, the Kerala Blasters have used FIFA policy which is still unknown to many Indian clubs. They are the first ISL club to succeed and arguably the first Indian club to take advantage of this advantage.

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