PCA joins Russell Slade’s ‘Project Red Card’ battle for players’ data

<span>Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The Professional Cricketers’ Association has joined “Project Red Card”, the battle for sportspeople to take more control of their data being led by the former Leyton Orient and Cardiff manager Russell Slade.

Slade and the lawyer and data expert Jason Dunlop founded Global Sports Data and Technology Group in 2019, with the aim of helping athletes to control and monetise the data being collected about them and their performances.

Related: Hundreds of professional footballers threaten legal action over use of data

“Professional cricketers’ data is being processed and sent all over the world, currently without the knowledge and understanding of the players,” GSDT said. “It is being processed by companies outside of cricket for commercial purposes with little or no funding being returned to the players.”

Letters before action were sent last year on behalf of 1,400 professional footballers as a first step towards reaching agreement with companies who use the data – concentrated in the gambling and gaming industries – and seeking legal redress for the profits they have made. There is also the possibility of using the Information Commissioner’s Office to force businesses to stop using contested data.

“This data is being collected, in many instances unlawfully, and people are making a lot of money out of it,” Slade said. “It’s about putting some of it back into the game and back to the players.

“To be successful this may well end up in court at some stage. Success would be compensation for the players, which could possibly go back legally four to six years. But also, let’s clean everything up so the individual is happy with the data that’s being collected and it’s a fair reflection of the individual.”

One concern is that Muslim sportspeople, whose religion condemns gambling, should be able to control whether bookmakers can use and profit from their data. “That’s part of what we’re trying to achieve,” Slade said. “If they don’t want their data to be used to enhance betting odds because of their religion, then that is something we should respect.”

GSDT is already working with men’s and women’s professional footballers, as well as rugby players, with the potential for sportspeople from other disciplines to become involved.

“We have been monitoring the progress of GSDT and Project Red Card for a long period of time,” the PCA’s chief operating officer, Daryl Mitchell, said. “We believe this is the correct time in cricket to resolve and to progress this issue with our partners. We look forward to working with our members and GSDT to progress the area of personal data rights in cricket.”