Footballers to sue over use of performance data

It's expect that the potential lawsuit will target betting companies.
It's expect that the potential lawsuit will target betting companies.

Hundreds of footballers in England are to take legal action demanding payment for the use of personal data, with betting operators as likely defendants.

UK.- More than 400 professional footballers playing in England are preparing group legal action to demand payment from businesses that use their performance and tracking data.

Lawyers representing the players have not revealed details of the potential defendants in the case but have suggested that they are likely to include betting operators.

The case could have deep consequences for the collection and use of player tracking and performance data for betting markets.

The lawsuit is being spearheaded by former Leyton Orient and Cardiff City manager Russell Slade and his company Global Sports Data, which he founded with tech expert Jason Dunlop.

They’ve hired law firm Freeths and data advisory firm Elias Partnership to advise. The action is being prepared under the banner Project Red Card.

Dunlop was quoted by the BBC as saying: “We have no issue with football clubs using the data, nor do the players involved in this case. Our issue is where data goes thereafter. We believe it goes into betting companies, gaming companies.”

Slade told Sky News: “There is a huge amount of data used in football, tracking and performance. My concern though is how this is being used by gaming and betting companies who don’t have the consent of the player.

“I’m also worried about the accuracy of the data at times. That for a footballer is crucial so if the data about them that is out there is wrong, it could be damaging for the player.”

It is believed the payment demands in the potential lawsuit could reach hundreds of millions of pounds, as current and former players seek compensation for the use of personal performance data stretching back years.

Currently 400 players have signed the potential claim, but it is expected that more than a 1,000 could join the action.

Richard Dutton, Director of Elias Partnership, told iGB: “No individual owns their data, but we have rights about its use, particularly under GDPR but also under, for example, the Data Protection Act of 2018.”

He said that information being in the public domain did not mean that it can be sold. 

“The issue here is that organisations are compiling all this data on the players and then selling it without the appropriate consent, and that’s not okay,” he said.

BetGenius’s Genius Sports supplies official data for the Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Professional Football League for betting purposes, having signed a deal in May 2019.

Stats Perform last month sealed an exclusive rights deal with Football DataCo for event data from all major English and Scottish football leagues.

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