Eriksen Denmark 1

Danish footballers receive compensation at High Court after successful representation by Spillerforeningen


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Eriksen Denmark 1
  • Significant legal victory for Danish union sees Bet365 ordered to pay EUR 630,000 for unauthorised use of player images in betting advertisements 
  • Bookmaker was convicted of infringing the image rights of 23 Danish sports stars, including Christian Eriksen and Kasper Schmeichel
  • "We have made judicial history in Denmark," says Spillerforeningen’s Head of Legal Michael Doi

Danish player union Spillerforeningen recorded a significant legal victory for footballers in their lawsuit against bookmaker Bet365 for the unauthorised use of their image in betting advertisements.

The High Court in Denmark on Monday ruled in favour of the athletes and awarded them a total of DKK 4.7m (EUR 630,000).

The bookmaker was convicted of infringing the image rights of 23 Danish sports stars in connection with having used the athletes' names and faces in posts on social media.

Spillerforeningen represented 21 footballers, including Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer and Pernille Harder, while the Handball Players Association and Danish Elite Athletes Association represented the other two athletes.

Pernille Harder 1
Pernille Harder
Simon Kjaer 1
Simon Kjaer and Christian Eriksen
Kasper Schmeichel 1
Kasper Schmeichel

"We have made judicial history in Denmark, ensuring that compensation for commercial abuse of IP rights – both image and name – are no longer limited to very small amounts compared to the commercial endorsement deals that players have," said Spillerforeningen’s Head of Legal Michael Doi.

The union limited their claim to DKK 50,000 per image (and the use of the name only in one instance) of each player. The decision allows for individual calculation of even higher amounts in the future, which is key to protecting players from abuse of their IP rights.

Of the 21 footballers the largest compensation went to Eriksen, who was awarded DKK 1.45m. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was awarded DKK 500,000, while Pernille Harder will receive DKK 350,000.

Bet365 must also pay DKK 200,000 for the court costs in the High Court to Spillerforeningen.

"One of the most important tasks we have in the associations is to secure and defend athletes' rights," said Spillerforeningen Director Michael Sahl Hansen.

"We ensured that you cannot simply use athletes' image rights – images, name, distinguishing marks – without seeking consent beforehand."