German football club VfB Stuttgart fined for misusing private data

The club has agreed to send money and upgrade its procedures on handling personal data as informed by the office of lead data protection official, Stefan Brink.

Stuttgart has returned to German top-flight football under American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo.   -  AP

German football club VfB Stuttgart has been fined 300,000 euros ($357,000) for misusing private data about its members, a regulator said on Wednesday.

Stuttgart had been accused of passing on data, which was potentially useful for marketing to third parties without informing members.

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The scandal has caused some infighting among club officials and has overshadowed the team's return to the Bundesliga under American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. Stuttgart is in ninth place.

The club has agreed to a “costly restructuring” of how it handles personal data, said the office of Stefan Brink, the lead data protection official for the state of Baden-Württemberg. The club will also promote data protection classes in schools and for its youth teams, Brink said.

Brink's office characterized the case as a “negligent breach” of Stuttgart's data protection obligations.