English Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur is catching heat from fans after it announced a major new partnership deal with controversial fan token creator Socios, reports The Times.
According to the club, the team-up will “provide fans worldwide with access to a unique range of club-related activities, rewards and experiences.” Tokens will reportedly be handed out for free to season ticket holders and club members, while non-members will have to pay $2 per token.
However, the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust has voiced concerns that the project will not only be charging fans to engage with their club but will “encourage fans to enter a cryptocurrency ecosystem of which many will have little knowledge.”
“It is important there should be no financial or technological barriers to fan engagement,” the trust says, “yet this relationship potentially creates both.”
While potentially very lucrative, fan tokens, which give supporters the power to vote in club polls and enter competitions, are a controversial topic.
As reported back in 2021, clubs including Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus, Arsenal, Leeds United, and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) had all leveraged crypto’s burgeoning popularity to push revenue.
However, fan groups claimed at the time that the tokens exploit fans without providing the necessary support to help newcomers grasp the fickleness and volatility of crypto markets.
Indeed, the wording of this week’s statement from the Tottenham Supporters’ Trust is almost identical to the one put out by the Leeds United Supporters Trust two years ago, which read, “Fans will also be obliged to enter into a cryptocurrency ecosystem; something which many may have very little knowledge of.”
To date, Socios has created tokens for more than 50 clubs around the world, including Manchester City, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Tottenham’s London rivals Arsenal.
Back in 2019, the company also produced a fan token for Premier League side West Ham United, however, the club pulled the plug on the partnership after little more than a year when its fans launched a campaign against it.
Spurs owner sold Bahamas property to SBF
The Socios partnership, though raising a few eyebrows, isn’t the most controversial bit of crypto-related news affecting Tottenham Hotspur over the past few weeks.
In August, Protos reported how billionaire Spurs owner Joe Lewis had sold disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried a number of properties in the Bahamas worth upwards of $76 million.
Lewis was also forced to secure possibly the largest bail bond in history while facing insider trading charges, worth $300 million — about $50 million more than Bankman-Fried.
Lewis is accused of helping his ex-girlfriend — then 23 year-old Carolyn Carter — and his personal pilots invest in numerous biotech companies before positive news was announced publicly. The three individuals cumulatively profited over half a million dollars.
Edit 15:30 UTC, Sept 29: Corrected second paragraph to refer to ‘tokens’ rather than ‘coins.’