Participants’ data at amateur sports events



Participants’ data at amateur sports events

The organisers of a city fun run, a five-a-side football tournament or a local triathlon normally need data from the participants. What are the organisers allowed to do with this data?

When organising an amateur sports event, the organisers need personal data from the participants, such as their names, e-mail addresses, dates of birth, gender, etc. This data is mainly used within the organising process to draw up lists of participants or to form age groups. In some cases rankings can also be published on the internet or data is passed on to sponsors for advertising purposes.

What should happen 

Every participant should be aware that certain forms of data processing have to be carried out in order to organise a sports event. Registration is usually done online, and the data collected is used by the organisers to prepare for the event, e.g. to draw up starting and ranking lists, issue competitors with numbers, and form age categories. Usually, certain information about the event that includes participants’ details is also made public after the event, such as a list ranking the finishers and providing their times.

This data processing must be carried out transparently, i.e. the participants should be aware of what is being done, and the processing must be relevant to the purpose, i.e. holding a sports event. The private interest of the organisers in holding the event justifies this processing. The organisers are permitted to pass on the data in the context of the event, for example to a company responsible for timekeeping; this does not require specific consent. 

The publication of rankings on the internet also appears to be permitted in most cases, especially if it is a public event. It is recommended that rankings on the internet have a "noindex" tag so that they cannot be indexed by search engines and are therefore less widely distributed. This increases the protection of participants' privacy and prevents them from being traced by a simple search on the internet. 

The problem with additional services

The situation is different if data are disclosed to third parties, such as sponsors. It is quite understandable that organisers may be unable to afford the budget for an event on their own and that they do not want to charge participants high fees. However, participants are entitled to assume that their data will only be used to organise and run the event and will not be passed on to third parties without their consent. Disclosure may be contrary to the principles of proportionality and transparency as well. It may only be carried out if the participants concerned have not objected to their data being processed in this way. 

Tips for organisers

Cross-border transfer of personal data

The cross-border transfer of personal data is subject to special rules. The following must be considered before data is transferred to other countries.

Data processing in associations

Being a member of an association involves processing personal data. What are the rules on how this data can be collected and used?

Photos and privacy

Smartphones and social networks have made it commonplace to take photos and publish them in some form. It’s important to know the rules that apply.

Questions on data protection

Take a look at our FAQ or call our hotline.


Here you can download all documents sorted by topics.

The main provisions

Here you can find out more about changes to the Data Protection Act, which came into force on 1 September 2023.

Last modification 19.04.2023

Top of page