FIFPRO today launches the Charter of Player Data Rights with a view to implementing global industry standards that protect the privacy of professional footballers and allow them to benefit from personal rights to manage and access information about their performance and health. These standards mark an important starting point to further collectively-agreed solutions between player unions and football stakeholders in domestic playing markets and define the interests and legal rights of players regarding their personal data.
FIFPRO’s Charter of Player Data Rights has been developed in collaboration with FIFA over the past two years. The organisations will continue working together in the coming months to develop common industry standards and pragmatic solutions for the protection, collection and use of player data. Players, football industry stakeholders and interested third-parties have common key interests in utilising state-of-the-art science and cutting-edge technology to drive player performance and to develop the game.
The Charter of Player Data Rights provides a response to the opportunities and challenges caused by new technologies, and is guided by leading legislation on data protection and privacy rights. These emerging technologies have the capacity to impact players in multiple ways, including through performance monitoring, contract negotiations, in-game technology and fan engagement. Widening accessibility and increasing technological precision will, for example, allow for advanced analysis of sporting performance and physical condition using health and biometric data.
Eighty percent of professional footballers surveyed by FIFPRO said they want to have access to their data to improve how they perform on the pitch. But players are also concerned about how their data is collected and used. In a complex and fast-moving sector, they are often unsure about their rights and how to protect them. They feel that clear, practical and enforceable information is lacking. (*)
In relation to their personal data, the Charter of Player Data Rights makes clear that all professional footballers should have:
• The Right To Be Informed
• The Right To Access
• The Right To Revoke
• The Right To Restrict Processing
• The Right To Data Portability
• The Right To Rectification
• The Right To Complain
• The Right To Erasure
As data becomes more valuable to those who work in and around professional football – not only to players and clubs but also to competition organisers, in-game technology providers, the media and entertainment industries – the need for clear and enforceable rules has become urgent. The Charter of Player Data Rights is underpinned by current legislation, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, one of the global benchmarks for the protection of individual data rights.
Alexander Bielefeld, FIFPRO Director Global Policy & Strategic Relations Men's Football, said: "Professional footballers have the same data rights as everyone else. They must be in a position to access, transfer and control when and how sensitive data about them is used. The Charter of Player Data Rights is a response to feedback from players across several focus groups and research surveys at a time of unparalleled innovation. The charter sets out common industry standards that should be practically implemented to help players manage and apply their rights, minimise conflict and set a fair and sustainable foundation for this emerging area of our sport at domestic and international levels."
Johannes Holzmueller, FIFA Director of Football Technology and Innovation, said: "We have been working closely and productively with FIFPRO with the objective of setting out a common framework to unlock common interests to integrate innovation and technology in the professional game starting with a player-centric perspective. The Charter of Player Data Rights is the result of those discussions and marks an important starting point to make sure everyone can benefit in an adequate and safe manner from the most recent technology and new opportunities."
(*) The player data survey was completed by 119 professional players, both men and women, during June and July 2021. The survey was distributed by FIFPRO through 10 national player unions spread across the four FIFPRO divisions: Africa, the Americas, Asia & Oceania and Europe.