- Legal States
Fiona Simmons December 23, 2021 3 min read
ASA Upholds Verdicts in Ads Involving Arsenal’s Fan Token
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s media regulator, has turned down appeals in the case of Arsenal Football Club regarding promotional materials that the regulator previously found offending on three counts.
ASA Argues Against Arsenal Defense in Fan Token Case
According to ASA, Arsenal FC’s website and Facebook publicized materials that were in violation of the accepted code of conduct. The offending materials had to do with cryptocurrency products, and specifically the Arsenal Fan Token, a digital asset that allows fans to support their club by making online purchases and using this token to access various experiences.
However, ASA found the advertisement efforts to be irresponsible. The regulator argued that the advertisement materials were phrased in a way that made it difficult for inexperienced customers to fully grasp the nature of the token and what it means.
To the regulator’s mind, the ads “trivialized investment in crypto assets.” Secondly, the regulator added that the ads were misleading because they did not explain the risk profile of crypto investment and not least, they were misleading because they, in no way, demonstrated that the token was a crypto asset.
“We considered that Fan Tokens were a crypto asset which had to be bought by purchasing another cryptocurrency and that would be material information that consumers needed to make an informed decision to enquire further.”ASA
To purchase the token, consumers needed to open an account and trade cryptocurrencies to access it, something that was not reflected in the ads, ASA said. Arsenal FC responded and argued that Fan Tokens were “utility tokens,” which were designed to lead to better engagement and therefore different than what cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies are.
Arsenal Makes Its Case with Confidence
Arsenal FC further argued that the ads were made available to followers and that Fan Tokens could not be traded on the Socios.com app, the issuer of the cryptocurrency. The club also advised fans to only purchase a single token as it would have sufficed to weigh in on club decisions.
The club further challenged the regulator on the claim that it had to explain that capital gains tax (CGT) may be payable on “profits from financial investments.” Arsenal denied ever pushing the Fan Token as a form of financial investment either. The club argued that the relationship between the Fan Token and cryptocurrencies was widely understood by its audiences.
However, ASA disagreed with the explanations provided by Arsenal and argued that the relationship between the token and the crypto market was not immediately evident and that crypto as a whole remained a difficult market for the average consumer to navigate. ASA further challenged Arsenal on the claim that the CAP Code required no explanations of what constitutes an investment.
Socios.com has been a popular platform. The company became the official and global fan engagement partner for LaLiga back in September. Socios.com has been teaming up with teams from all over the globe to bring its product forward.