Ajax Player Portal: Enabling footballers to take control their data

AJAX have created a bespoke app that enables players to take control of their own data, Head of Sport Science and Data Vosse de Boode has explained.

Speaking to Professor Sam Robertson for the One Track Mind Podcast, De Boode said: “People are a lot more open to turning to data and information from different sources to base decisions on - especially if I look at the players.

“We have now created the Player Portal, where they can see all their own data. They go in in the morning, fill in their readiness forms, can see their match data, video clips - so we created their own online environment in their phone on an app, because that is where they are a lot of the time.

“I see that trend coming up. It is like a big wave and we need to start paddling now, like a surfer. Because if you don’t, you are going to be smashed." Vosse de Boode

“If we want to get information across, we really need to go and try and sit in their mind and see how they want to consume that. The younger generation are really pushing us forward, ‘Hey, you’ve got that information, I want that information.’

“Before, if you went to a restaurant, you would ask a few friends if they had been there. Now they can look it up, view the ratings and read the menu themselves. They are used to getting the information themselves and being their own decision-makers, rather than waiting for the coach to tell them.

“I see that trend coming up. It is like a big wave and we need to start paddling now, like a surfer. Because if you don’t, you are going to be smashed.

“The player is the owner of the data, so they should have access through whatever company has collected it on them and they should be the one to distribute, like their image rights.

“At the moment, the data landscape and who collects what on who and has rights to what, no-one really knows. One of the big challenges the world has is how we are going to handle and process people’s data in general, because there are a lot of questions about privacy, who can store what, who can analyse what and how to do that. Football is no different.”

In England, former Cardiff City manager Russell Slade is leading a group of 850 players in taking legal action against the data collection industry in football.

‘Project Red Card’ aims to recover lost income for players relating to the sharing of their personal performance and event data without their permission, stretching back six years, as per the Statute of Limitations.

Slade's Global Sports Data and Technology Group says it has actually highlighted more than 150 targets it believes have misused data.

The legal challenge is not against football clubs, even if they have handled player data, because the intention is to "educate them on how best to treat data in the future."

READ MORE: How Ajax are building a 'full model of football'

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