Legal action from English footballers? Yes, they are preparing lawsuits against data providers, among other businesses, for using their personal data. They want compensation for revealing performance and tracking data.

This action could mean “hundreds of millions of pounds” to the plaintiffs. It is being led by former Leyton Orient and Cardiff City Manager, Russell Slade, and his company Global Sports Data, under the Project Red Card banner.

The footballers have engaged legal representation and the advisory service, Elias Partnership. According to Director, Richard Dutton, companies involved in the betting industry are “potential target defendants.”

He notes that the case pertains to data rights and lack of payment over six years.

“It’s about the performance and tracking data, which we contend doesn’t have the players’ consent, and it’s about the rights of players,”

He maintains that no individual owns their data, but we have rights about its use, particularly under GDPR and the Data Protection Act of 2018. He attacks the business profit gained from the private information.

“There’s nothing wrong with you or I making notes for our own benefit of how a player is playing. That’s how many players are scouted.”

The issue is that organizations are compiling data on the players and then selling it without their appropriate consent. It is a vital issue and more than 400 current and former players have signed up. More will likely follow per Dutton.

Per Dutton, the case will have a major influence over the future of data rights even if it is the first case of its kind. It is all about the commercial value of personal data and on-going “data breaches.”

Deals have to be made appropriately, In fact, last month, Sports data specialist Stats Perform agreed to an exclusive and official deal with Football DataCo to collect and distribute event data for all major English and Scottish football leagues. Stats Perform can now legally deliver detailed data to media, fantasy, broadcast and professional teams around the world.


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