Arsenal FC warned for “irresponsible” Arsenal Fan Token (AFC) advertising

UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two online "irresponsible & misleading" promotions of crypto-based Arsenal Fan Token (AFC).
UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two online ads of the Arsenal Fan Token (AFC) Photo: Dave Pearce via Flickr

Key Takeaways

  • UK’s Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) has slammed the Arsenal FC over irresponsible crypto advertisments
  • The ASA deemed two online pmomotions of Arsenal Fan Token (AFC) failed to issue enough warnings to customers
  • The cryptocurrency industry continues to remain unregulated by the UK authorities, although taxes on gains still apply

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) – Through a ruling on Wednesday, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two online promotions of crypto-based Arsenal Fan Token (AFC) by the football club. According to the ASA, the adverts were ‘irresponsible’ and misled fans about the volatility of cryptocurrency assets. The ASA further ruled that the advertisements in question failed to explain the risk involved in buying crypto tokens. Additionally, one of the online promotions fell short of mentioning that all cryptocurrencies are unregulated in the United Kingdom.

ASA also took issue with the fact that the ads about the Arsenal Fan Club Token (AFC) did not contain any information that Capital Gains Tax (CGT) could be payable on profits from investing in crypto assets.

“Because the ads trivialised investment in cryptoassets and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity by not making clear that CGT could be payable on profits from investing, we concluded the ads were irresponsible and breached the Code,”

the ASA ruled.

Recommended: MUFC Manchester United Fan Token is a scam, investors & exchanges warn

The Arsenal Fan Club Token (AFC) on Socios list

The two advertisements flagged by the ASA promoting the Arsenal Fan Club Token or the $AFC  ran in August of 2021. One of the advertisements ran through a Facebook post while the other one ran on a web page.

“$AFC in now live (on) $CHZ. Ben White, Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney have had their say..But what song do you want to hear when we win? Download the Socios app to get your token and vote.” 

the Facebook post read.

As the cryptocurrency craze grapes the world of sports, soccer has seen a parabolic rise in crypto involvement. Other than individual stars charting deals with organizations, football clubs have started going down that path as well. Major European soccer clubs have already signed partnership deals to offer fan tokens in their club’s name. 

Seventeen of England’s twenty Premier League clubs have signed a variety of crypto-partnerships. These partnerships have now monetized most fan-oriented policies of the club.

Arsenal Fan Token currently ranks 15 on the list of top fan tokens by Market Capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap.

One particular company, Socios, has dominated the fan-token market. Besides Arsenal, several other big names in European football have partnered with Socios. These include Manchester City, Everton, Juventus, Aston Villa, AS Roma, Paris Saint-Germain, Leeds, etc.

The Socios platform’s in-house economy functions using the native Chiliz (CHZ) tokens. 

Recommended: Manchester United Fan Token, aka MUFC, plunges over 60% two weeks after airdrop

Arsenal takes note of the ASA’s ruling

The top-tier English club announced they have taken notice of the ruling. Arsenal has promised to comply with the ASA’s guidance while running advertising about cryptocurrencies. However, the club will be seeking an Independent Review of the ruling.

“We take our responsibilities with regard to marketing to our fans very seriously. We carefully considered the communications to fans regarding our promotions and provided information regarding financial risks,” 

an Arsenal spokesman said in a statement about the ruling.

The price of the Arsenal Fan Token (AFC) has remained largely unfazed by the ruling. The token currently trades for $3.67 and has increased over 6% in value over the past week, according to data by cryptocurrency tracking and portfolio management platform CoinStats. 

 Arsenal Fan Token (AFC) price has remained largely unfazed by the ASA's ruling.
Arsenal Fan Token (AFC) weekly chart by CoinStats

The ASA has acknowledged that the club did not have any intention to promote the Fan Tokens as an investment or financial product.

However, the agency also directed Arsenal to ensure their ads must not appear again in the form complained about. According to the dictate, future ads should not mislead consumers by omitting material information in their ads.

“We told Arsenal Football Club PLC to ensure that their future ads did not trivialize investment in crypto assets and did not irresponsibly take advantage of consumers’ lack of experience or credulity by not making clear that CGT could be due on cryptoasset profits,” 

the ASA’s ruling read.

While the ruling was concerning Arsenal Fan Token (AFC), it sets a precedent for the other clubs to follow. Meanwhile, the club has already updated its website to include the recommended directives.   

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