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UK advertising watchdog hits Arsenal football club for crypto tokens

By December 22, 2021December 27th, 2021Sports games

Britain’s publicity watchdog on Wednesday berated Arsenal football club on the website and Facebook ads of its ‘fan tokens,’ a type of cryptocurrency that has exploded in popularity this year. The Advertising Standards Agency said two announcements released by Arsenal in August were “Misleading” because they did not clearly state the risk of trading cryptocurrencies, possible tax implications, or that these tokens are not regulated in Britain.

He said the ads should not appear in the same form again. Fan Tokens allow supporters of various football and other sports clubs to vote on minor decisions such as the song played in matches after a goal has been scored or images used on social media.

Tokens, which can be traded on exchanges like other cryptocurrencies, are subject to sharp price swings and often have little to do with performance in the field. North London-based Arsenal ran promotions on their website and Facebook promoting the tokens, the ASA said, with details of how supporters could purchase the tokens through a separate cryptocurrency. The ASA said Arsenal’s ads were “irresponsible because they took advantage of the inexperience or gullibility of consumers and trivialized investment in crypto assets.”

An Arsenal spokesperson said he was seeking an independent review of the decision and would “make efforts to comply” with the watchdog’s directives. “We take our responsibilities in marketing to our fans very seriously,” said the spokesperson. “We have carefully reviewed communications to fans regarding our promotions and provided information regarding financial risks.”

Arsenal had told the ASA that fan tokens were designed to stimulate fan participation and were “materially different” from other cryptocurrencies used as a form of payment. It is one of a number of sports clubs that are using alternative sources of income to fight the pandemic, which consultancy firm Deloitte says has caused the revenues of Europe’s top 20 clubs to drop 12% over the course of of the last season.

Many fans and supporters’ associations have dismissed the tokens as offering only superficial participation which adds to the already rising costs of monitoring their teams. Others, however, say they appreciate a new way to engage with their teams.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)