The football league transfer window is no time for data leaks

By January 9, 2019Uncategorized
football transfer window leaks

Imagine you’re a premier league football club. It’s the transfer window and you’re looking to sign a huge name from a rival club. The details – contractual terms, salary and so on – need to be kept under wraps until you’re ready to announce it.

But then the full details of your email exchanges are exposed on Football Leaks –  a site that does just what it says on the tin. It’s all there: details of the negotiation, the transfer fees, salary, player demands. Shareholders, players and fans are starting to ask you some difficult questions. It’s spreading like wildfire on social media. This wasn’t at all how you wanted it to play out.

This is a common scenario, these days. (Google ‘football salary leaks’ and you’ll see just how common.) Details end up all over social media and in the big newspapers. Back in 2016, hackers handed German newspaper Der Spiegel 18.6 million documents stolen from football teams. The leak included confidential agreements between players and teams, some of which caused significant controversy to the people involved once the stories appeared in the press.

Email is far too risky for the most confidential information. You don’t have any control over where it might end up, or who could intercept it. (When you’re talking about deals that run into tens of millions, there are enough people who want to get their hands on the details.) Regular readers of this blog will know that even encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp aren’t fit for purpose. They might block a casual hacker, but they don’t stop a recipient forwarding your confidential information to a journalist, for example. (And don’t get me started on the GDPR implications of forwarding personal data to a private phone and then losing control of it altogether.)

We’ve had some interesting conversations recently with sports clubs across a range of sports. And it’s not just players’ contractual information that they’re worried about losing over a leaky communications channel.

A leaked match strategy could be gold to the competitive team, ahead of a big game. Or a detailed analysis of a player’s strengths and weaknesses, as part of a coaching video. It’s common practice for clubs to share detailed and technical analysis and strategies with their teams as part of training – an none of them would be happy with a rival getting their hands on the gameplay. We work with Premier League Football Clubs which use Pushfor to securely share coaching videos with the players ahead of games; those videos cannot be forwarded, downloaded or shared with anyone other than the relevant player. Performance coaches can even track who’s watched them, where and for how long – so there can be no excuses in training.

If clubs are going to repair an already leaky boat, they need to keep control of their confidential documents. That means not sharing them, but only allowing access to those authorized people they choose.

Pushfor also lets you track exactly where content has been accessed – so you can keep track of who, where and when it was seen.

It’s completely changing how confidential player information is shared.