Champions League – Before Manchester City – PSG – The shameful case: Manchester City, a lot of cryptocurrencies

It’s not yesterday that Premier League clubs flirt with dubious partners and sponsors, starting with these online gambling sites with opaque profiles to say the least that sprinkle English football with millions from Arsenal ( to Leeds (SBOTOP). ), via Crystal Palace. (W88), Newcastle (FUN88) and indeed almost everyone else, Leicester City deserve a special mention, as the Foxes count no less than five online gambling sites among their official partners.

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Most of these sites, of which no one, not even the UK Sports Betting Licensing Commission, knows the true owners, are located in tax havens. Its clientele is predominantly Asian, although gambling on sporting events is strictly illegal in China, Thailand, and almost anywhere else in Southeast Asia. English football is therefore used to circumvent the law and give a semblance of legitimacy to companies, many of which are suspected of being controlled for serious crimes and serving as vectors for tax evasion and money laundering.

Pochettino has more answers


After gambling sites, PL turned to cryptocurrencies

After long years of indifference, the British authorities seem to have finally realized the magnitude of the problem and are preparing, it is said, to ban the advertising of these sports betting sites on shirts and in stadiums.

. “We say”, I must insist; because the betting house lobby is powerful and generous. Hasn’t it distributed the equivalent of € 265,000 in various gifts, invitations and emoluments to 28 MPs in the House of Commons (19 Conservatives, 9 Labor) since August 2020, according to a Guardian investigation?

Jamie Vardy

Credit: Getty Images

However, all this confusion worries English clubs, who see an important source of income threatened in the short term by the introduction of new legislation. What to do then? How to start the phynance bomb now that Father Ubu has discovered an embryo of conscience?

To this question, the English clubs responded by contacting other partners of whom we also know almost everything: cryptocurrency sellers. In a way, that didn’t change much: aren’t the customers of these hundreds of sites that promise the moon to “investors” really nothing more than gamblers?

A crucial distinction must be made here. We are not talking about companies trying to explore and exploit the potential of blockchain technology to secure transactions, financial or otherwise, or to serve as a base platform for the long-awaited Web 3.0. These are the entities that have rushed after Bitcoin and Ethereum, whose profile has so much in common with the unregulated sportsbooks that English football will try to get rid of, starting with the fact that no one knows exactly who is really behind them. . .
17 Premier League clubs out of 20

But if you think this has deterred Premier League clubs from taking the plunge, you are wrong. The Mail on Sunday did the math. Seventeen of the twenty clubs have done so enthusiastically over the past twelve months, careful to pinch their nose and blindfolds. No questions asked.

They are not the only ones in Europe. FC Barcelona has just severed its commercial relationship with the company Ownix, which it had commissioned to develop and sell its “digital goods” after one of the project partners, Israeli Moshe Ogeg (also owner of Beitar Jerusalem) was arrested. on suspicion of crypto-fraud and embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars.

But even that is nothing compared to the absurd history in which a club that, until then, was considered a model of good management in the PL scene, rather contrasted in this matter, has been involved: Manchester City. This story, here it is, the Man City story, crypto galore.

Less exciting game, 15th place and insane schedule … Should we be worrying about Leeds and Bielsa?

3Key, shell company and … partner of Manchester City?

On November 12, the Abu Dhabi United Group property announced that a contract had been signed with a company called 3Key, whose mission would be to increase Cityzens fans’ understanding of “the DeFi market and space” (‘DeFi’ stands for “Decentralized Finance”) and convince them to invest in cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. You will forgive me for not going into details here, or you will appreciate it. What is important to know is that the ultimate goal of this partnership was the monetization of support through new digital tools, the buzzword in the financial Wild West that is football in 2021.

There was nothing strange about this arrangement itself. What it did, however, is that when you looked a little closer, a little closer, without having to put on your glasses, this company, 3Key … well, it didn’t exist. Well not really.

It was an amateur detective, named Martin Calladine (@uglygame on Twitter), who discovered the rose pot. He went to the supposed 3Key site. Curiously, this site did not show any point of contact, nor address of registered office, nor registration number in any business registry. Interestingly, none of the staff members whose names were mentioned by 3Key had digital traces. They had no associated Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram accounts. And when Calladine noticed these quirks in her thread, the 3Key site disappeared from the web for eighteen hours.

Raheem Sterling

Credit: Getty Images

Association suspended a week later

He then got in touch with Manchester City, who finally handed him a letter from the alleged owner of 3Key, one “Oliver Chen”, and then, secondly, an email address to contact this gentleman; what he did, asking him to prove that his employees weren’t pure avatars. “Chen” was begged, explaining that he had been very busy with his business. Calladine is still waiting for this test. Manchester City too.

Therefore, a week later, on November 19, the club announced that it had “suspended” its association with 3Key, and realized, albeit a little late, that it had negotiated a deal with a shadow company, directed by a man (?) Who, if he exists, is probably not called “Oliver Chen”, which did not stop him from convincing one of the richest clubs in the world to do business with him.

“They didn’t come looking for us to do a project”: but then, what is Pochettino for at PSG?

This is the effect that words like “cryptocurrency”, “DeFi” or “non-fungible token” have on Premier League clubs; the bigger the lie, the easier it is to get them to swallow. The lure of the new earnings is so alluring that they rush to packaging without worrying about what’s actually in the box, yet they hear their fans rushing as they sell them today. ‘I fled the mirage of sports betting. On that side, at least, nothing has changed.

This “ban” is likely to be more relative. Indeed, it is possible to embed virtual advertising boards into the images that viewers receive, and soon it will even be possible to individually target those among them who would be tempted to place bets.

This topic, I must point out, is particularly close to my heart, and those who wish to know more about the question can turn to the extensive survey I recently dedicated to the Norwegian magazine Josimar.

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