The Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) is threatening legal action against Sportradar over the “unauthorized” collection and distribution of data from Ukranian football competitions.
In two emails sent to Sportradar last week, the UAF said the company sent sports betting data from local matches to Italian bookmaker Snai despite requests to stop.
The UAF previously wrote to several data providers in February, including Genius Sports and Stats Perform, asking them to stop collecting data from matches.
The UAF then signed an exclusive data deal with FeedConstruct for Ukrainian Premier League and domestic cup matches in May.
While other providers acknowledged the email and cooperated, according to the UAF, Sportradar did not respond.
What’s in the letter to Sportradar?
The latest letter from the UAF, sent to Sportradar on June 18, said in part:
“Your company continues collecting and selling betting data from football matches played in Ukraine without any authorization from regional and national football associations.
“Taking account of the fact that your company does not reply to our emails on such matters and continues sending scouts to Ukrainian official and unofficial football matches, we consider such behaviour as a hostile act and inform you that reserve a right to institute proceedings against your company.”
A UAF official told LSR it was in the process of filing a police complaint against Sportradar. The football association said unauthorized scouting was a risk to its commercial and integrity goals.
Copies of the letter were also sent to FIFA and multiple sports integrity bodies.
The case for data competition
Sportradar declined to comment for this story. But the company has previously been vocal in its support for open competition in the data market, with multiple sources for operators and customers.
Earlier this year it launched legal action against Genius Sports over its “monopolization” of UK football data.
In that case, Sportradar said data competition was “vital for innovation, genuine product choice and fair pricing and we believe these elements are worth protecting.”
Back to the Ukraine deal, Sportradar told SportBusiness it had been negotiating with FeedConstruct for a sub-license since that official partnership was announced.
Since then, Sportradar said it has only gathered match data for UAF matches from a media feed, rather than in-stadium.
More of Radar’s case
The company also argues that in smaller leagues like Ukrainian football, a single source of data is more open to manipulation, thus threatening the integrity of games.
It’s likely Sportradar would make a similar case in Ukraine if forced to defend itself from legal action.
Sportradar has official data rights for the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL.
More trouble for data companies
The data company said its local scout provided evidence the game did take place. However, there are still questions about the identity of the players in the game.
Genius was also implicated in another ‘ghost game’ back in April.
These incidents have surfaced more frequently in recent months as data providers scramble to provide content to bookmakers faced with an absence of major sports.
Stats Perform recently called for all data providers to work together to develop a best-practice model to help reduce these types of incidents going forward.