Academics join Muslim athletes to stop data sale to betting

3/14/2023 4:55 PM

The Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK is collaborating with Muslim sports stars in a bid to prevent the sale of their performance data to the betting industry.

The academics from Cardiff University have partnered with Global Sports Data and Technology Group (GSDT), which is looking to stop this practice.  

Together, they are developing guidance for Muslim athletes about their rights regarding the usage of their personal data in betting.

The personal performance data of players during matches are routinely sold for profit without consent, which could violate current data protection laws in the UK.

The sale of this data to betting companies is particularly distressing for Muslim athletes because it allows gamblers to bet on their performance.

'Muslims take their religion seriously,' said Dr Mansur Ali from the Centre for the Study of Islam at Cardiff University.  

“We are not in the business of telling people what to do. Our project will provide an evidence-based guideline for Muslim athletes to make an ethical and religiously-informed decision about their data and intellectual property.”

Last month, GSDT signed an agreement with the Professional Cricketers Association to advise and represent players on managing their data rights.

GSDT made headlines with Project Red Card, which issued pre-action litigation letters to companies that might be using players’ data without their consent.

"Why should we promote gambling anyway?”

Syed Abbas, chairman of Cardiff-based Bay Dragons Cricket Club, said the feelings of Muslim players should be respected.  

“Unfortunately, due to commercials of betting sponsorship, players are compelled to wear team kits that may advertise alcoholic drinks or betting companies, which does hurt the feelings of Muslim players, and those of others who don’t drink or gamble, too,” Abbas told The Cardiffian.

“The cricket boards should do more to diversify their sponsorship income and onboard the sponsors which are not just acceptable to all but demonstrate good morals.

“So the real question is that – why should we promote gambling anyway?”

Muslim athletes often have difficulty reconciling the relationship sport has with betting and alcohol companies.

Many Muslim sports stars have refused to wear jerseys or stand next to hoarding that features betting or alcohol companies.  

A few years ago, UEFA announced that it would not position alcohol bottles or sponsors associated with alcohol in front of Muslim footballers during press conferences. The decision was made after Paul Pogba removed a bottle during one of his press conferences.