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National League cause more controversy as ‘worrying’ plans come to light

The National League cause yet more controversy as ‘worrying’ plans come to light just weeks ago on the backlash they caused for playoff final.

Just as everyone was starting to move on from the chaos that the league brought on themselves with stupid prices for the Grimsby v Solihull final, there are now claims that discussions are being held regarding an official non-fungible token (NFT) partner.

This could see clubs expected to tweet about the token scheme twice a month, The Athletic have revealed in an article on Thursday afternoon.

The plans, which are yet to be officially confirmed, were up for discussion at the organisation’s annual dinner last week at Celtic Manor near Newport in Wales.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) is being talked about as a potential new revenue stream for a league as they struggle for cash compared to the country’s professional divisions.

The report goes on to add that part of the proposed arrangement, clubs would be told to regularly post about the tokens on social media, trying to win over and hypnotise everyone to eventually taking advantage of it.

Non-fungible tokens are a form of digital asset based on blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It means more or less that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else.

The Athletic write: “To their advocates, they are the modern iteration of trading merchandise like stickers or clothing, but to detractors, they are enriching the already wealthy to the detriment of sports fans exposed to unregulated financial speculation.”

The National League has come through the other end of the pandemic in a bad way, the aggregate attendance is said to be of around 2.5 million across its three divisions in 2021-22 with six clubs for that season – Wrexham, Stockport County, Notts County, Chesterfield, Southend United and Grimsby Town – bringing in average attendances of between 5,000 to 10,000.

There is a strong desire to continue increasing revenue streams, but with central funding from the Premier League is reduced for clubs outside of the English Football League (EFL).

The National League has an existing commercial deal with Vanarama, who had to come out as the hero in helping Grimsby and Solihull fans pay to get to the London Stadium this summer.

They have been league title sponsors since 2014 and will continue to be until the 2024-25 season, with the deal thought to be worth around £4 million, or £1 million per season, when they signed on the dotted line in March 2021.

Cryptocurrency in sport is still rather new and a lot of people don’t know how it will play out in football.

The Athletic describe it as highly controversial, from digital “fan token” sold by the company Socios, to European giants such as Chelsea and Roma carrying the logos of companies in the sector which few had heard of until they got the green light with huge sponsorship deals.

The National League begin in discussions over an official NFT partner… just as crypto markets are crashing and various football NFT schemes ‘have tanked’.

Multiple NFT projects promoted by the likes of Paul Pogba, Andrew Robertson and John Terry have led to criticism after they swiftly plunged in value after being announced to much fanfare.

Fans reacted as the National League cause more controversy over ‘worrying’ plans which have come to light this week…

@SteveGrant1983: FFS 🤦‍♂️

@neilhay3s: Literally what no one was asking for.

@jonbranson: At least the National League are dealing with important stuff and not fussing about with sorting having 7 subs on the bench or getting the EFL to agree to more promotion spots

@FootiePrint: Never seen anything as utterly pointless and a waste of money as NFTs. It’s like humanity is insisting reality ends.

@Mattpie95: Luke Williams better be the man to get us out of this league

@pogester: Absolute fucking joke. Don’t the NL board have better things to focus on than this bullshit.

@spoldham: Yet to meet anyone who has the *slightest* bit of interest in NFTs. Not a good look for the National League to be shilling this sort of thing less than a month after the playoff final ticket farce.

@AgainstLeague3: You may remember the National League from other whacky schemes such as ‘£45 tickets for the fifth division playoff final’ and ‘starting a season behind closed doors without knowing if this finance is a grant or a loan’

@Sam_Metcalf: Thank Christ we got promoted. (Mainly because I don’t understand NFTs) #GTFC

@TomLove_18: National League outdoing themselves, again…

@sphinxftbl: I’m sure they’ve fully thought it through and it’ll be wonderful.

@SamDaly75982661: Absolutely not!!! @yorkcity need to stand up against this.

@BDL_Fleet: Only @TheVanaramaNL would be this stupid.

@GedlingPie: How about negotiating a deal to add more promotion spots & more subs on the bench instead of pissing about adding cartoons to their portfolio. I can’t wait to get out of this league ffs.

@GoalscorerC: Love the idea of these clubs still posting about their stupid NFTs in March because they’re contractually obliged, even when they’ve tanked and are 10% of their original price.

@anthonytmufc: Another normal day in non league

@JurgLFC: Heads up: I think @BrakesTrust should be vocally opposing this. NFTs look to be generally a ‘get rich quick’ scam, and why the league would be actively looking to promote them is beyond me.

@mattcox17: Please @OfficialShots resist this pointless scam nonsense

National League clubs: “Isn’t it about time we had three-up three-down and promotion finals that don’t feel like they were planned by a Labrador with a crayon?”
National League: “We’re really glad you asked about NFTs because, boy oh boy, do we have some good news for you…”

@FanExperienceCo: We’re still convinced that simply focusing on listening to fans, working with clubs to improve engagement & experiences & recognising best performance makes more sense as a growth strategy.

@TrailOfDebt: The National League is an embarrassment. How this catastrophically thick rabble of total morons hasn’t been the subject of some kind of non-league uprising is a constant source of amazement. I wouldn’t trust them to get their bin day right.

@ChipsyYCFC: Do not engage with this @YorkCityFC please. NFT’s are proper scam territory

@ScottyWalden: Nothing surprises me about the National League anymore…

@briandalynj: Note to self: add NFT to list of muted words on Twitter.

@GavsRants: This is very odd. Cant see many people wanting non-league nfts if Liverpool couldn’t sell nfts

@TheDB30: @GatesheadFC tell the Crypto bros to fuck right off.

@PhilippeAuclair: This is getting seriously out of hand. Insane.

@groundhopper23: How is it that organisations with presumably intelligent people at the helm can’t yet see through this magic bean, emperor’s new clothes nonsense?

@Nick_Gtx: These mugs genuinely see this as free money. As always fans are the ones out of pocket

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