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The Professional Cricketers Association has joined the “Red Card Project”, a struggle for greater control over athletes’ data, led by former Leyton Orient and Cardiff manager Russell Slade.
Slade and attorney and data expert Jason Dunlop founded the Global Sports Data & Technology Group in 2019 to help athletes control and monetize the data collected about themselves and their performance.
Related: Hundreds of professional football players threaten legal action for use of data
“The data of professional cricketers is currently being processed and sent all over the world without the knowledge and understanding of the players,” GSDT said. “It is processed for commercial purposes by companies other than cricket and little or no refunds are given to players.”
Last year, pre-litigation letters on behalf of 1,400 professional football players were sent as a first step towards reaching settlements with companies that use the data – concentrated in the gambling and gaming industries – and seeking legal compensation for their profits. There is also the possibility of using the Office of the Information Commissioner to force businesses to stop using controversial data.
“This data is collected illegally in many cases and people make a lot of money out of it,” Slade said. “It’s about giving some of it back to the game and the players.
“To be successful, this may go to court at some stage. Success would be compensation for players who could legally go back possibly four to six years. But at the same time, let’s clear everything up so that the person is happy with the data collected and that it is a fair reflection of the individual.”
One concern is that Muslim athletes who prohibit religious gambling can control whether they can use and profit from bookmakers’ data. “This is part of what we’re trying to achieve,” Slade said. “If they don’t want their data to be used to increase odds because of their religion, that’s something we have to respect.”
GSDT is currently working with male and female professional football players as well as rugby players, and athletes from other disciplines have the potential to be involved.
“We’ve been monitoring the progress of GSDT and Project Red Card for a long time,” said Daryl Mitchell, PCA’s COO. “We believe the right time has come to address and move forward with this issue in cricket together with our partners. We look forward to working with our members and GSDT to drive progress in the field of personal data rights in cricket.”