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Leeds United fans critical of club’s Socios deal

Leeds United supporters are the latest in the Premier League to criticise their club for entering into an agreement with Socios.com

Last week the Yorkshire club announced that they had entered into a partnership with Socios to bring cryptocurrency “fan tokens” to Leeds. Fan Tokens are collectible digital assets on the Chiliz blockchain.

Token owners can participate in fan engagement initiatives and polls at the club – the more a supporter purchases the more voting power they have, and anyone can acquire the tokens, not just Leeds United season ticket holders or members.

Leeds United Supporters’ Trust reacted with scepticism to the announcement, and urged the club to look at it again.

LUST said: “As a critical friend it isn’t the trust’s place to vet commercial partnerships but rather to highlight when impact on fans may have been either poorly communicated or under explored. We believe that this is one of those moments.”

“Fans will also be obliged to enter into a cryptocurrency ecosystem; something which many may have very little knowledge of.

“If football chooses to bring unregulated cryptocurrency into the game, we believe that clubs also need to provide education and guidance on the purpose and risks associated.”

Leeds United follow Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal in partnering with Socios – who have also provided fan tokens to Barcelona, Juventus, PSG and Atletico Madrid. Their tokens have seen wild fluctuations in prices since launch for mostly investor-driven, non-footballing reasons.

Previously, West Ham United also signed a deal with the cryptocurrency platform, but the deal was axed following a campaign against it from Hammers’ fans.

“We add our voice to these other groups in expressing our distrust of these tokens and the implementation of cryptocurrency in football clubs,” LUST said.

FSA members voted on policy at our 2019 AGM outlining the organisation’s opposition to the use of monetised fan tokens as an avenue for supporter engagement.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe