Arsenal have been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog for its fan token promotion saying “trivialized investments in cryptocurrencies”.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said two ads posted on the Premier League club’s website and Facebook page in August were misleading.
He said he did not clarify the risks of trading such assets, the potential tax implications or that the tokens are not regulated in Britain and ordered that they should not appear in the same form again.
The ASA said the ads, which included a video featuring Arsenal players, were “irresponsible because they took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or gullibility and trivialized cryptocurrency investments.”
Fan Tokens, which allow fans to vote on minor decisions such as songs played during matches, can be exchanged on the stock exchange.
The Financial Conduct Authority classifies them as cryptocurrencies, a complex investment subject to large price swings that could expose investors to large losses.
The ASA said the Arsenal announcements did not make it clear that the token was a cryptoasset, which could only be obtained by opening an account and trading with another cryptocurrency.
His decision is part of the regulator’s broader focus on cryptocurrency, which he describes as a “red alert priority.”
An Arsenal spokesperson said they were seeking an independent review of the ruling and would “make an effort to comply” with the watchdog’s guidance.
“We take our marketing responsibilities very seriously for our fans,” the spokesperson said.
“We have carefully considered communications to fans regarding our promotions and provided information on financial risks.”
Arsenal told the ASA that fan tokens were designed to increase supporter participation and were “materially different” from other cryptocurrencies used as a means of payment.
More than 40 clubs from Europe to South America have launched fan tokens.
In the Premier League, those clubs that have done or plan to include Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Leeds, Everton and Aston Villa.
The largest fan token, launched by Paris Saint-Germain, is worth a total of $ 49 million (£ 36.7 million), according to CoinMarketCap, compared to Bitcoin’s $ 929 billion. Arsenal’s total stands at around $ 7 million (£ 5.24 million).