Barcelona, of Spanish soccer’s top-tier LaLiga, have brought to an immediate end their commercial contract with Ownix, the NFT token marketplace which only became one of the club’s digital partners earlier this month.
Barcelona said in a statement on their website today that the contract has been terminated “in light of information received that goes against the club’s values.”
The club has “hereby communicated the cancellation of the contract to create and market NFT (non-fungible token) digital assets with Owing with immediate effect.”
According to media reports, the contract has been terminated because of the arrest of Moshe Hogeg, who was acting as an advisor for the partnership, on charges of cryptocurrency-based fraud.
Hogeg, from Israel, has now been arrested as part of an Israeli operation into fraud in the crypto field, while some media has also reported that he faces sexual assault charges too.
Barcelona have claimed that Hogeg was in no way officially connected to Ownix, but was instead merely acting as a conduit between the brand and the club.
The two bodies only partnered on 4 November, in a global deal that was set to launch a range of NFTs – surrounding some of the club’s most iconic moments – which fans would be able to purchase, own and collect.
The NFTs were set to be only available to buy using cryptocurrency via the ONX token.
Elsewhere, it has been reported that English soccer heavyweights Manchester City have, in a similar fashion, suspended their contract with 3Key, a decentralised finance (DeFi) firm which became an official City partner earlier this week.
When it struck the deal around 72 hours ago, City said the partnership would see 3Key receive brand exposure through content activations, created in collaboration with the club, as well as via the club’s various digital assets.
However, no information regarding 3Key’s structure, ownership, or products is available anywhere online (at least publicly), and media has reported earlier today that the contract has been cancelled with hours left until 3Key faced a deadline of providing UK authorities with proof of their identity.
Over the last two days, 3Key have been repeatedly unable to prove their existence as a legitimate firm to UK-based media.