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Football Index clients exposed by UK government data leak bug

Date posted: April 27, 2021, 08:15 pm

Last updated: April 27, 2021, 09:01 h.

Philip Conneller

Hundreds of former Football Index users have exposed their identities in a clumsy body leak, tasked with investigating the demise of a controversial soccer trading platform.

Football Index
Football Index logo on Nottingham Forest player jersey ahead of company collapse in early March. (Photo: The Independent)

An email sent to former Football Index customers by the UK government's Department of Culture Media and Sports (DCMS) last week confirmed that a government inquiry would be underway.

The platform collapsed in early March, leaving users with a total of approximately 100 million (138 million) $ out of pocket.

But to add insult to injury, someone at DCMS forgot to use the Bcc option when sending a bulk message to around 500 former customers.

Regulator under review

Later, when he realized his mistake, the department sent another e-mail notifying the leak of confidential data.

"Dear everyone, you just mistakenly sent you an e-mail that should be deleted," we read. “Recipients were supposed to receive a blind backup, but they were accidentally placed in the backup list. We apologize for our mistake.

“We will ensure that this issue is investigated and appropriate action taken. We take this matter very seriously. "

In addition to revealing their names and email addresses, the original email informed recipients that the Index's Soccer Business Practices review would be run by an independent site.

It will look at "the decisions and actions of the Gambling Commission and any other regulators" to discover any "potential areas for improvement." "

Ponzi scheme claim

Until its collapse on March 5, the Football Index was a prominent brand in British football. She had sponsorship deals with two English soccer teams, QPR and Nottingham Forest, and advertised extensively on TV and radio.

The platform mimicked the stock exchange by allowing users to trade "shares" of professional soccer players whose value would fluctuate depending on various factors in the real world. Players would receive "dividends" based on the performance of their shares.

However, since the stocks were purely fictitious, with no underlying value, the Football Index model relied on the steady sale of more stocks, which led many to argue that it was little more than a Ponzi scheme.

When the company announced it would cut dividends to protect the platform's "long-term stability", it triggered panic and the pyramid collapsed.

The Football Index license was suspended by the UK Gambling Commission and placed under receivership - similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US - a week later.

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