In the midst of a crackdown on crypto material, the UK advertising watchdog has prohibited commercials by Premier League football team Arsenal touting their fan tokens. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) took issue with an ad on Arsenal’s Facebook page in August that pushed individuals to buy $AFC fan tokens in order to vote on minor club issues like which song to play when the team wins a game.
The UK has banned Arsenal’s crypto ‘Fan Token’ advertisements
Arsenal was accused of exploiting inexperienced investors, trivializing digital asset investment, and failing to make it clear that fans who wanted to buy the $AFC tokens would have to first buy another crypto asset, according to the regulator.
“We told Arsenal Football Club PLC that their future ads should not trivialize investment in crypto assets and should not irresponsibly take advantage of consumers’ lack of experience or credulity by not making clear that Capital Gains Tax could be due on crypto-asset profits,” the ASA wrote in a statement, ruling that “the ads must not appear again in the form complained about.”
Arsenal’s spokeswoman told the Financial Times that the club “takes everything seriously.” “We take our marketing duties to our fans extremely seriously. We carefully considered how we communicated with fans about our campaigns and included financial risk information.”
“We will comply with the ASA’s instructions regarding future communications in this fast-moving area,” the representative stated. “However, we will seek an Independent Review of the ASA’s judgment.”
Meanwhile, the ASA claims that, despite the fact that the tokens were not represented as financial products, Arsenal should have disclosed that crypto assets are unregulated in the United Kingdom since this meant that the items lacked consumer protections found in many regulated financial products.
Arsenal defended its fan token marketing by citing information on investing on its website’s fan token section, which included a warning not to spend more than fans could afford to lose and an explanation that asset prices are volatile. The football club also stated that the requirement to inform fan token holders of their obligation to pay capital gains tax went beyond the FCA’s guidelines for regulated assets.
The decision comes amid an ASA campaign against crypto advertisements, with the watchdog issuing a red alert’ on the problem this month. The regulator called out pizza company Papa John’s, Coinbase, and eToro last week, banning commercials that failed to fully describe the risks of investing in cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile, supporter tokens have become increasingly popular among European football clubs, with Socios alone generating tokens for over 40 clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, and Manchester City.
With football club revenues being affected by the ongoing epidemic, fan tokens have swiftly emerged as a go-to solution for raising finances for teams while also providing supporters with a more meaningful opportunity to engage with their favorite team.
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