The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority has ordered Arsenal FC to remove ads promoting its Socios fan token. The ASA claimed that the ads “trivialised investment in cryptoassets…took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity” and “were misleading because they failed to illustrate the risk of the investment.”
Arsenal partnered with Malta-based Socios in July to create its $AFC Fan Token, which fans purchase through first buying the cryptocurrency Chiliz, which also owns Socios. Token holders can take part in fan engagement programs such as voting for the song that Arsenal plays at its home stadium following a win.
The $AFC token was promoted on the club’s website and Facebook page. Arsenal’s fan token ads did not mention the potential capital gains tax tied to crypto trading, a key factor in the ASA’s decision.
“We acknowledged that the ads did not promote the Fan Tokens as an investment or financial product,” the ASA wrote. “However, the product was a cryptoasset regardless of how it was promoted, and the ads did not contain any information that capital gain tax could be payable on profits from investing in cryptoassets.”
More than 100 sports teams have partnered with Socios, including five other Premier League clubs and other soccer giants like FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. ASA’s ruling only applies to Arsenal because the regulator received an individual complaint regarding the club.
Arsenal will have an independent review of the ruling, and a Socios spokesperson told SportTechie that Arsenal will appeal against the original complaint.
“We welcome Arsenal’s call for an independent review. This is a fast-moving area, and clarity is needed to ensure all companies can adhere to the latest guidelines,” Socios said in a statement.
Socios signed deals with 12 NHL clubs earlier this month, as well as with the New England Patriots last month, the UFC last May and the New York Knicks and New York Rangers on Wednesday. Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Socios and Chiliz, said Wednesday that Socios plans to launch its U.S. app in the first half of 2022.