Arsenal Crypto ‘Fan Token’ Advertisements Banned by UK Watchdog for Failing to Highlight Risks

The UK advertising watchdog has banned ads promoting their fan tokens by Premier League football club Arsenal amid crackdown on crypto content. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) took issue with an ad published on Arsenal’s Facebook page in August that encouraged people to buy $AFC fan tokens to vote on minor decisions made by the club, such as Arsenal’s. Which song to play when you win a game. The regulator accused Arsenal of taking advantage of inexperienced investors, trivializing digital asset investing and failing to make it clear that fans wishing to purchase the $AFC token must first purchase another crypto asset.

“We asked Arsenal Football Club plc to ensure that their future commercials do not value the investment crypto property and irresponsibly did not exploit the lack of experience or creditworthiness of consumers and did not clarify that capital gains tax may be payable on crypto-asset profits,” the ASA wrote in a statement. Statement, ruling that “advertisements should not be reappeared in the form complained of.”

Talking to an Arsenal spokesman financial Times stated that the club “takes responsibilities regarding marketing to its fans very seriously. We have carefully considered communications to fans regarding our promotions and provided information regarding financial risks.”

“We will endeavor to follow the ASA’s guidance regarding future communications in this rapidly growing area, however, we will seek an independent review of the ASA’s decision,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the ASA said that although the tokens were not advertised as financial products, Arsenal should have indicated that crypto assets in the UK were unregulated, as it meant the products did not have the consumer protections that many regulated Comes with financial vehicles.

In defense of their fan token promotion, Arsenal pointed to the investment information provided on the fan token section of their website which included a warning that fans should not spend more than they lose and explained that the asset’s price may be unstable. The football club also pointed out that requiring fan token holders to pay capital gains tax is beyond FCA standards for regulated investments.

The decision comes amid an ASA campaign against cryptocurrency ads, issuing a ‘red alert’ about the issue this month. Last week, pizza chain Papa Johns, Coinbase, and eToro were all called out by the regulator, which banned ads that failed to adequately explain the risks of investing in crypto.

Meanwhile, fan tokens have grown in popularity among football clubs in Europe, with Socios alone creating tokens for over 40 football clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Manchester City. With football club revenues affected by the ongoing pandemic, fan tokens have emerged as an option for clubs to add funds, while providing a way for fans to connect with their favorite club in a more meaningful way.

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