Slade leads '850 players' in legal action against data industry

Russell Slade heads up the Global Sports Data and Technology Group

Russell Slade heads up the Global Sports Data and Technology Group

FORMER Cardiff City manager Russell Slade says he 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.

‘Letters before action’ have already been sent to 17 major betting, gaming and data collection companies alleging data misuse, according to the BBC. However, 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."

Under Article Four of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, "personal data" refers to a range of identifiable information, such as physical attributes, location data or physiological information.

Slade told the BBC: “We’re using personal data all the time, whether it’s tracking data, how many passes, how many shots, how many headers. There are companies that are taking that data, processing that data, without the consent of the individual player, and that’s not right.

“A big part of our journey has been looking at that ecosystem, and plotting out where that data starts, who’s processing it, where it finishes. On one player, and I'm not talking about a Premier League player or even a Championship player, there was some 7,000 pieces of information on one individual player at a lower league football club.

"There are companies that are taking that data and processing that data without the individual consent of that player."

Former Wales international Dave Edwards, who now plays for Bala Town, is part of the legal challenge.

He told the BBC: "It’s stuff that if you were in another job, if you were a teacher, a lawyer, and this sort of details were being passed around, it wouldn’t sit right with that person.

"I think players need to have the right to see where the data goes and get compensated for all the years it has got used. I think that’s important."

Data technologist Jason Dunlop heads up Global Sports Data and Technology Group along with Slade, while the firm's lawyer is Chris Farnell, who previously advised Massimo Cellino on his takeover of Leeds United.

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