The Mexican Football Federation appears to have thrown up an insurmountable roadblock for a pro club that was hoping to sell a percentage of its equity as a non-fungible token (NFT) – in a move that would be unprecedented in world sport.
The football team in question is Club Nexaca of the Liga MX, a club that the German former Real Madrid and Arsenal superstar Mezut Özil part-owns. The club is a three-time league champion and has won the CONCACAF Champions League twice.
Özil, who won the World Cup with Germany in 2014, had been keen for the deal to go through, and had been active in its promotion himself – posting about the development on his personal Twitter page earlier this week.
The German star, along with a glittering array of sports stars and clubs such as basketball star Victor Oladipo, the skier Bode Miller, the baseball player Justin Verlander, the Welsh pro football team Swansea City and the American pro team DC United snapped up a 50% stake in the club last month.
The NFT sale, which would have seen a winning bidder pick up 1% of the club’s equity as an NFT, now appears to be in serious doubt after an eleventh-hour move from the federation, which addressed the matter directly in an official release.
In the statement, the body claimed that “in accordance with its regulations,” certificates of ownership” could “not be transferred or modified” without the “express approval” of both the Liga MX and the federation’s executive committee or its general assembly.
It added that the “direct or indirect equity” of all of the Mexican top league’s clubs were “not subject to any type of exchange or purchase by any means or form of payment, including NFTs.”
It objected to “any change or direct or indirect addition of shareholders” that failed to meet its – and the league’s – approval.
Regardless, the club may still seek to push ahead with the sale and seek official approval through the league and the federation once the auction is complete. At the time of writing, a special website for the proposed sale is still operational.
The token was minted on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain and has been put up for sale on the OpenSea platform. It was developed by the London-based blockchain firm B9Labs. Nexaca claimed that the winning bidder would be granted “unique access to the team and its facilities, tickets to home and away games, a championship ring and team merchandise.”
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