Ireland: How Can Sports Clubs And Organisations Prepare For The New General Data Protection Regulation (The "GDPR")?

Last Updated: 31 January 2018
Article by Rob Corbet and Chris O'Connor
Most Read Contributor in Ireland, December 2018

Whether you are a grassroots club, professional team or a sport governing body, you will have fans, members and athletes. As a result you will be holding the personal data of many individuals as well as information relating to volunteers and employees. Data is a key asset for sports organisations the maintenance and growth of which is crucial to the ongoing development and success of the organisation and allowing them to engage with and market events to members.

Sporting organisations of all levels need to be aware of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force on 25 May 2018. This new EU regulation is set to radically change the way that all organisations manage individuals' personal data with the biggest reform in data protection law for over 20 years. It is crucial that all sporting organisations have taken or are planning to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with the Regulation as there are huge potential fines for organisations which don't comply of up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover for serious breaches.

The GDPR applies to any data controllers or data processors, so it covers organisations who collect any personal data from members, employees, fans or athletes. "Controllers" of personal data are organisations that decide how and why personal data is processed. "Processors" of personal data are those who process data on the controller's behalf. Some of the key changes that are implemented by GDPR include:

  • Record keeping: - Organisations will be required to keep records of the data they process, why they process it, for how long they process it and the legal basis on which they process it.
  • Notification of breaches: – Data breaches that impact on privacy will have to be notified to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (the "ODPC") and any individuals that are affected within 72 hours of the occurrence of the breach. Failure to report a breach could result in a fine as well as a fine for the breach itself.
  • Transparency: - The GDPR sets out the information that must be given to data subjects at the point of collection of the data. Data capture forms and privacy policies of sports organisations will need to be updated in order to fall in line with the minimum transparency requirements of the GDPR. Individuals must be told about what personal data is processed, why it is processed, the lawful basis for processing it, how long it will be retained for, who, if anyone, it might be shared with and what measures will be implemented to protect the data, especially if it is being transferred or hosted outside of the EEA.
  • Consent: - While consent is not the only basis upon which data can be processed, the GDPR introduces new conditions as to how to obtain a valid consent. Consent to the processing must be given by clear affirmative action in order to be compliant i.e. the data subject must freely indicate affirmatively that they consent to how their data is to be processed. Each purpose of processing needs a separate consent and data subjects must be given an easy way to withdraw their consent at any time. Sports organisations may have to change the way that they collect data from their members and should start by reviewing how they seek, obtain and record consent of the individual at the point of collection. Ensure that the individual will know exactly what they are consenting to including direct marketing, event updates, etc.
  • Children's consent: - Ensure that you have adequate systems in place to verify individual ages of members/players and gather consent from guardians of children. Consent needs to be verifiable and therefore communicated to your underage members in plain and simple language. Ireland looks set to adopt 13 as the age at which a child can consent to data processing without specific parental permission under current draft of the General Scheme of the Data Protection Bill, released in May 2017.
  • Right to access: - Data subjects have a right to access their data under the current Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 however the time limit for responding to such requests will be reduced from 40 days to within one month. Controllers will not be able to charge for processing an access request unless they can demonstrate that the cost will be excessive. It is worth reviewing and updating procedures and planning how to handle requests within the new timelines without undue delay.
  • Right to be forgotten/ Right to erasure: - The GDPR also introduces new rights in addition to the right of access. Data subjects will have the right to seek erasure of personal data concerning them without undue delay in a number of circumstances including withdrawal of consent or, for example, if a player moves clubs and the personal data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which the data was collected.
  • Right to data portability: - Individuals will be allowed to receive a copy of their personal data in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format, although such right only applies in limited circumstances. This could prove to be relevant in the context of performance data of players and athletes in the event of them moving clubs. It is yet to be seen whether a player will be deemed to have "provided" his or her data to a club via monitoring devices etc. such that they could request this information.
  • Sensitive data: - Clubs and organisations should ensure that they know whether they hold any "sensitive data" of their players, employees or members such as data relating to the individual's mental or physical health (including injuries). Explicit consent of the person about whom the data relates will likely be required in order to process this type of data.
  • Third Party Processors: - There will be direct obligations on data processors as well as data controllers. Controllers that use any third parties to process data, for example, hosting a website, then they must have a written contract in place with the host/ processor.

Data Protection Bill

Ireland will implement and apply the GDPR through a Data Protection Bill (in draft form at the time of writing as the General Scheme of the Data Protection Bill, released in May 2017). The Bill will replace the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003. It is important that clubs and organisations review the type of data that they have in relation to the Bill. It is noteworthy that criminal sanctions will be available against persons who obtain or procure access to personal data without the prior express or implied authority of the controller or processor by whom the data are kept and discloses the data or information to another person. In light of this, clubs and organisations should implement appropriate safeguards to prevent accidental data protection offences by club officers or members.

Steps to take now:

Clubs and organisations can take the following steps at this point to ensure that they are in a good position prior to the implementation of the GDPR.

  • Review the privacy policy and fair processing notices of the club/ organisation to ensure that the transparency requirements are appropriately satisfied. Consider whether an appropriate system is in place such that a data access request/ exercise of a right of erasure can be dealt with quickly and satisfactorily.
  • Ensure that the club/organisation has appropriate systems in place in the event of a data protection breach.
  • Carry out a data audit to figure out what, how and why data is held by the club or organisation and to determine what the lawful purpose of holding that data is.
  • Consider if consent is required and, if so, how consent is obtained from the individual players, members etc. and whether it is collected appropriately in line with Article 7 GDPR. To the extent that it has not been collected correctly, seek to refresh or enhance the consent or consider whether another legal basis for processing that personal data is applicable under Article 6 GDPR.
  • Consider whether and how any sensitive data is processed within the organisation and whether appropriate systems are in place to safeguard them.
  • Review data protection governance, in particular the responsibility for data protection compliance, record keeping, responding to data subject requests or enquiries on complaints from the ODPC.
  • Review data security measures and, ensure that personal data is held securely i.e. that electronic documents are encrypted and password protected and that they are backed up on a regular basis and also ensure that members, employees and/or volunteers can identify when a breach has happened and that they know what they should do and who they should talk to.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Arthur Cox
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Arthur Cox
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions