In a football context, image rights are simply the right a player possesses to control, sell, license and otherwise monetize his or her likeness that is, his or her image, name, nickname, photograph, voice, signature, autograph, and all other characteristics unique to the player.
Image rights deals enable the player to exploit that likeness for commercial value through sponsorship and endorsement activities. Top players, who have an image with a commercial value, will often set up an image rights company to control the use made of their image.
As such, clubs are entering into a multitude of commercial partnerships whereby brands want to be associated with clubs and their high-profile players.
Clubs have traditionally paid their players solely for playing football. This relationship has evolved. As commercial drivers push football into the entertainment and brand space, clubs are looking for a variety of ways to ‘monetize’ and grow their revenue base.
The playing contract gives the club basic use of the player’s image. However, the club will pay the image rights company an additional fee for an enhanced use of the player’s image as well as paying that player a salary for example, if the club is to pay a player £10 million per annual they may do so by paying £8m in salary for their playing services and a £2m payment to the image rights company for an enhanced use of the player’s image. The amounts can vary depending on the value of the image of the player.
However, there is actually no direct legal right that protects a player’s image.
Source: Oyekanmi Olayinka @sportbestlog1