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Footballers kickstart action alleging data misuse
Pic: Shutterstock

12 Oct 2021 / data law Print

Footballers kickstart action alleging data misuse

Hundreds of professional footballers have threatened legal action against the data-collection industry, which could change how their information is handled, according to a BBC report.

Led by former Cardiff City, Leyton Orient and Yeovil Town manager Russell Slade, 850 players want compensation for the trading of their performance data over the past six years.

They also want an annual fee from the companies for any future use.

The BBC reports that "letters before action" have been sent to 17 big firms – including some involved in betting, entertainment, and data collection – alleging data misuse.

‘No payment’

Data range from average goals-per-game for an outfield player to height.

The broadcaster says that, if the group pursues legal action and is successful, it could lead to radical change in the industry behind professional sport that trades on players' information.

Slade's legal team said that the fact that players received no payment for the unlicensed use of their data contravened General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules that were strengthened in 2018.

Under article 4 of the GDPR, "personal data" refers to a range or identifiable information – such as physical attributes, location data or physiological information.

Slade told the BBC that, while receiving a fee for the use of their data might not have much impact on high-earning Premier League players, those lower down the football pyramid would benefit.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland