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Arsenal break advertising rules says Watchdog

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A web page and a Facebook post by Arsenal promoting crypto-based fan tokens broke advertising rules, a watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the club had "failed to illustrate the risk of the investment".

They added "the ads must not appear again in the form complained about".

Arsenal said it would seek an independent review of the ruling, adding that the club had provided information on the financial risks.

But critics, including some supporters' groups, suggest that clubs who promote crypto fan tokens are encouraging people to engage in the risky, and largely unregulated, world of cryptocurrency investment.

The ASA ruled against two promotions of Arsenal's fan tokens ($AFC).

The first breach, according to the watchdog, focused on content on Arsenal's official website - in particular a page posted on 6 August 2021 with the title '$AFC Fan Token: Everything you need to know'.

The second breach was a Facebook post on the club's official page, posted on 12 August 2021, which read: '$AFC is now live' and asked fans: "What song do you want to hear when we win? Download the Socios app to get your token and vote".

In its ruling, the ASA investigated three issues concerning the post and website text, arguing they were:

  • irresponsible - because they took advantage of consumers' inexperience or credulity and trivialised investment in crypto-assets.
  • misleading - because they failed to illustrate the risk of the investment.

In addition, it said the Facebook post "did not make clear the 'token' was a crypto-asset, which could only be obtained by opening an account and exchanging with another cryptocurrency which had to be purchased".

The watchdog found that both the website and the Facebook post broke its rules: "The ads must not appear again in the form complained about," it stated.

In future, the club must make it clear that fan tokens are crypto-assets and "that the value of investments in crypto-assets was variable and crypto-assets were unregulated", the ruling continued.

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