Premier League clubs split over potential NFT deal

The subject was discussed at length in Tuesday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Tuesday 08 March 2022 16:54
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<p>The subject was discussed at length in Tuesday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting </p>

The subject was discussed at length in Tuesday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting

The Premier League are split over whether to do a deal for their own non-fungible token [NFT], with some clubs and figures within the competition conscious of how that squares with their much-vaunted environmental campaigns.

The marketing of such products has exploded in sport recently, with both clubs and players launching their own versions. An NFT is a non-interchangeable unit that represents ownership of a real-world item, which in the case of football tends to be popular images. With the units using the same blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrency, the industry's extensive use of energy has been the source of huge criticism and is seen as a significant environmental concern.

The Independent has been told that the area was discussed “at length” in Tuesday’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting, with the prospect of an NFT exclusive to the competition leading to considerable debate.

While some officials within the organisation are pushing it, along with some of the clubs that have their own deals, others pointed to the backlash that football has already faced for engagement in the area. A core concern is how such products potentially point supporters towards an unregulated financial world they don’t have the expertise for, with that pushed along by their connection to the game.

Others are concerned with how it can co-exist alongside climate initiatives.

It was as recently as November 2021 that the Premier League signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, setting the goal of reducing 50% of the organisation’s own emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2040.

Many club figures have reservations over whether this can sit side by side with NFT deals.

Tuesday’s meeting does not represent the first time that the Premier League has debated the issue. Officials previously decided to wait, despite some clubs urging an acceleration of the plans.

The plans are nevertheless at such a stage that some companies have been shortlisted to work on any future plans.

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