Footballers seek data collection compensation

A group of several hundred professional footballers is seeking compensation for the collection and trading of their performance data. The group also wants an annual fee from sports data collection companies for the future use of the players’ data.

The group, Project Red Card, is led by former football manager Russell Slade and, if the group pursues its threatened legal action (October 2021), it could have implications for the various sectors, including sports betting.

The basis for legal action is that the ‘unlicensed collection’ of information and data about an identifiable individual is a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The argument is likely to centre on where the ownership of the relevant data lies.

20 years ago UK horseracing had a similar data argument with the national newspapers. Racing argued that the newspapers should pay to publish the daily racecards (runners, riders etc) because they benefit from the extra sales. The newspapers said that racing should be thankful for the widespread coverage it enjoyed in the sports sections and, in some cases, papers stopped publishing cards for race meetings.

Two decades on, when more data is being collected than ever on all sports and used for commercial purposes, everyone involved wants their share of the revenues.

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