Socios and football

Jacob F writes on Socios' recent attempts to capitalise from football through cryptocurrency, stating that fans should take a stand against the company's monopolistic practices
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Socios, the name of the company that is day-by-day having increasingly high numbers of involvement in football clubs across the world, from Barcelona to Leeds, to national teams such as Portugal, Argentina and Italy, to as far as being an official partner of La Liga.

It doesn’t just stop at football – extending into the main American sports, cricket, motorsport and even gaming. I’m focusing on football, but not so much teams like Juventus or PSG, instead the team crests you’ll find nearer the bottom of their official partner list page. The first 4 letters may cast your mind to other places, but I assure you, the reality of their service is the complete opposite.

So who are they and what do they do? “be more than a fan” is the text you are greeted with when you visit their mobile website, followed by “Every fan has the right to make their voice heard, wherever they are in the world.” As an advocate of supporting your local team, I may be spoiled due to the fact I am from England and that football and it’s culture in this country is very important to our communities. There are also lots of clubs in a relatively small country. I have also lived abroad, so I’m well aware of international fan clubs with people who don’t have access to the games in their area or country, people who continue to support their local team living abroad, and the result of a pre-season tour to these aforementioned places.

What Socios offers is fan tokens which they state offers you the ability to “own a share of influence in your team”, “influence team decision”, “earn once-in-a-lifetime rewards”, and the final one which is the strangest, “Follow teams and trade”. It’s weird that this global community of ‘superfans’ is able to chop and change which clubs they hold tokens in. Not only this being an attempt to exploit fan loyalty for profit, it’s simply an immoral cryptocurrency scheme.

This is where the problem lies. It has been stated that at no point will token holders be able to influence anything sport or business related at a club, however, these tokens are tradable and anyone regardless of their support is able to buy tokens at any club. The tokens allow you to have the power to decide which player controls the Instagram stories for the afternoon or what music is playing in the stadium before kickoff.

But the catch is, you must purchase the cryptocurrency Chiliz. Socios own the cryptocurrency, and as with all cryptocurrency, the value fluctuates. That’s where you realise the link to football is nil, and you start to notice the bots with 10 followers underneath Socios tweets spamming the $ crypto code of whatever club the tweet is related to, whereas the real fan opinions on the matter are traded for people buying and selling the tokens. This can influence the unwise who will succumb to the rumours and put their money into tokens, only for the value to drop.

This needs to be stopped – stay away from it. Equating your fan influence to your buying power in token ownership is a problem that we can draw real life parallels to, this should stay out of football. It’s bad enough that this system is a parasite on our own lives, now a crypto scheme is infiltrating the working man’s game and masquerading as if it has anything to do with the club, community, or their fans. I hope all of you will join me in sticking up your two fingers to Socios. What Socios claims to provide has always been provided for free before. Match day attendance and making your chants heard trump a Maltese parasite with 0 regulation, who are only after 1 thing – money.

Jacob F, is a member of the YCL’s London branch

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