Football TV was declared bankrupt this week. Since its foundation in 2018, there has been controversy about the streaming service for amateur matches. According to the Personal Data Authority (AP), the privacy of players had been violated because Football TV had installed cameras on 150 playing fields and did not request individual consent from players.
This summer, AP already imposed a penalty on the initiative of the football association KNVB and Talpa Network, as a result of which a fortnight ago – the week when amateur football started again – all recordings were stopped. Now it appears that football TV filed for bankruptcy earlier this week. Due to corona and the constant clashes with AP, it has been difficult to generate income for some time now, according to Football TV
In 2018, FootballTV placed dozens of cameras at amateur clubs throughout the Netherlands. Fans of amateur football could watch around 700 matches online every weekend. Since the beginning, there has been discussion about the privacy of the players. The clubs had to agree to the filming, but no permission was asked of the players.
Reason for action, the privacy watchdog said. According to AP, football TV did not comply with the privacy legislation. Especially because players from the age of 13 could already be filmed and the footage was then online. It is precisely this group that is vulnerable when it comes to privacy, according to the regulator. In addition, the commercial importance of Football TV causes problems. According to AP, it is not justified to make privacy-sensitive footage in order to make money with it.
Snoring little bugger
This verdict was already passed by the AP in November last year. Since then Football TV has been waiting for a final decision: were they allowed to go ahead or not? The streaming service accused AP of not rushing the proceedings, leaving it in a state of great uncertainty itself. The announcement of new sponsors would therefore have been postponed. In June, Football TV therefore initiated a court case against the “indecisive AP” in order to reach a quick decision.
In a column, KNVB director Jan Dirk van der Zee called the watchdog a “snoring pittance that threatens to harm amateur football”. He also claimed that if there was no clarity for Football TV on 1 September, the plug would be pulled. In July, the bickering reached the House of Representatives. There a motion was adopted that Football TV and AP should sit down together at the table. Subsequently, the privacy watchdog cut the Gordian knot and imposed the official measure to stop filming.
Football TV responded by saying it would go ahead with the court case despite the bankruptcy.