CAT To Act As Lead Judiciary In UK Football Data Rights Dispute

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), the main business and economic disputes court of United Kingdom law, has ruled that it will act as the lead judiciary in the data rights and competition infringement claim made against Betgenius and Football DataCoo by Sportradar (FDC).

The Tribunal, as a judiciary, dismissed the requests made by Football DataCo and Betgenius to transfer the ‘competition claim’ from Sportradar to the High Court.

The outcome of the application, submitted back in February in response to Sportradar’s competition law claim, means it can finally proceed to trial in early 2021.

Sportradar had filed legal proceedings against Betgenius and FDC at the beginning of 2020 in relation to how the companies had structured the exclusivity of their Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) rights licencing and distribution partnership live data.

This claim will now proceed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which retains jurisdiction despite recognising that claims relating to Genius Sports and FDC’s ‘private law rights’ to be heard in the High Court are linked to this dispute and should be handled jointly.

David Lampitt, Sportradar’s Managing Director, Sports Partnerships, commented: “As the Tribunal has clearly stated, the dispute manifestly depends on questions of competition law, and private law rights cannot be relied on to give effect to an exclusive agreement which violates competition law.

“We welcome the fact that the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s judgment has upheld Sportradar’s submissions, and that the competition law claim will proceed to be determined first and in the specialist forum.

“Sportradar issued its claim against Football DataCo and Betgenius in the Competition Appeal Tribunal on 28 February 2020 and this application has caused considerable delays to those proceedings. Now that it has been refused we look forward to progressing our competition law claim to trial.”

An immediate statement welcoming the decision of the Tribunal to retain its jurisdiction over the dispute was issued by Genius Sports, the operating company of Betgenius.

Genius countered that the High Court will hear matters relating to private law rights’ between Betgenius and FDC, where the results will be linked to the hearings of the Tribunal.

The statement read: “Genius Sports looks forward to the issues being determined. Genius Sports’ and DataCo’s’ connected arguments to be heard in the High Court concern Sportradar’s alleged trespass, rights infringement and breach of contract.

“These are cases that centre on the funding of sport and football leagues’ ability to participate in revenue from data collected on their events.”