Footballers to sue over use of their playing data

In what could turn out to be an important case for the sports industry on the use of sporting data relating to individual players, a group of over 400 current and former football players are reported to have joined a proposed group action which intends to target 'gaming, betting and data processing companies' who use player-related data for their own products.

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The proposed lawsuit, which has been reported in the press this week , is reportedly led by former Cardiff City and Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade and the Global Sports Data and Technology Group, which is a company he co-founded.

Slade has indicated that the players have no issue with football clubs using their personal data. Instead, he is quoted as saying that the claim intends to target third party companies who utilise and ultimately monetise the applicable data.

The potential claim appears to be in its early stages, but is likely to involve a variety of legal issues including the interplay between intellectual property rights and the rights of individuals under GDPR.

Sports rights holders, data rights distributors and the customers who pay for the use of that data (including betting operators and media businesses) – as well as professional players of all sports – will all have an interest in the progress of the case.

We at MediaWrites will be providing further updates on the case as it progresses, and our sports team at Bird & Bird with its market-leading combination of data protection and intellectual property expertise will be following developments closely. Stay tuned!

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