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10:14 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Zenit Injury Payments Spark Law Change Efforts

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Russian lawmakers want to limit incapacity benefit payments after 12 Zenit St. Petersburg players drained half of the city’s social insurance budget, a leading senator told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Russian lawmakers want to limit incapacity benefit payments after 12 Zenit St. Petersburg players drained half of the city’s social insurance budget, a leading senator told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

About $5.2 million was paid out as incapacity benefit to Zenit players who were recovering from injury and unable to work last year, officials have said.

The payments, which amounted to an average $7,477 per day per player, appear to roughly correspond with the legally stipulated 0.2 percent of a monthly salary.

Valery Ryazansky, chairman of the social policy committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, said he was leading an effort to limit payments and prevent sports stars claiming large sums in future.

“The Federation Council is continuing to keep this situation under control,” he said, adding that senators were prepared to write the law themselves if the government did not draft a bill.

“No final decision has been taken yet on whether there’ll be a draft bill from the government in the State Duma [parliament] or whether we, the senators, will take on its planning ourselves, but a law like that should appear.”

Sergei Afanasev, the chairman of the St. Petersburg fund the Zenit players drew from, said last week that Zenit had agreed in principle to stop registering injuries as temporary incapacity.

Federation Council Chairwoman and former St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko commented that professional football players should be insured at the expense of the clubs who shell out millions for them.