I-League outfit Gokulam Kerala FC are skating on thin ice at the moment. According to reports in the media, the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) has given the club 45 days to resolve a financial dispute with their former player Malemnganba Meitei, failing which they will be handed a transfer ban for the next two windows.
Meitei was part of the Gokulam side that won the Durand Cup in August 2019, the first time in 22 years that a Kerala-based club had won the competition. He had been signed by the Malabarians just a couple of months earlier on a two-year contract (although the exact length of the contract was never revealed) with the player’s camp suggesting the fee to be around INR 4 lakh per month (50 lakh/year).
However, in October last year, he was told that he was surplus to requirement following which he tried to find a new club but to no avail. The player then went ahead and lodged a complaint with FIFA claiming that his contract was unilaterally terminated without any valid reason. He also claimed reimbursement of the fee that he was supposed to get paid between October 2020 and June 2021 which according to him amounts to INR 32 lakh.
The issue was handed over to FIFA’s Player Status Committee who ruled in favour of Meitei in December, just before he finally managed to get a 6-month contract with I-League second division side FC Bengaluru United. However, Gokulam weren’t going to give up so easily. They claimed that the figure was highly exaggerated. Eventually, the DRC stepped in and after verifying all the transfer documents, found the club to be at fault.
The reported number thereafter to be paid as compensation is in the region of INR 18 lakh, plus an interest of 5% from the defaulted date. Gokulam have to pay him within the next 45 days or else the transfer ban will come into effect. There is still some ambiguity regarding the exact figures in this case and that will be updated as and when things become clearer. But the fact that the club will be staring down the barrel if they cannot shell out a significant compensation fee is more or less confirmed.