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The Premier League and Uefa are taking legal advice over the use of images of their trophies in non-fungible token (NFT) digital assets being promoted by John Terry and other big names in English football. Chelsea are looking into Terry’s posts because some have included images of the club’s badge.
Terry has used his Twitter account to promote the NFTs in question, which are cartoons of baby apes. Some of the images feature the Premier League, Europa League and Champions League trophies and have been tweeted by Terry and in one case retweeted by his former Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole.
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As first reported by the Daily Telegraph, the posts have caught the attention of the league. Its trophy is protected by its trademark and its use in any commercial venture requires a licensing agreement with the league.
Uefa, which organises the Europa League and Champions League, said: “Uefa takes the protection of its intellectual property rights seriously and we are investigating this matter further.”
The Football Association is also aware of the NFT activity related to Terry’s account, which includes use of the FA Cup trophy, the Community Shield and the England kit.
Terry, who has taken up a consultancy role in Chelsea’s academy, has been heavily promoting the “Ape Kids Club” NFTs on Twitter. Others who have endorsed them are Bobby Zamora, Jack Wilshere and Nigel de Jong. The Chelsea and England full-back Reece James has tweeted about acquiring a “Mutant Ape” NFT.
— John Terry (@JohnTerry26) January 20, 2022
“Ape Kids Club” NFTS are an offshoot of another popular NFT, the “Bored Ape Yacht Club”. The collection features 10,000 digital illustrations of cartoon apes. The “Ape Kids Club” features 9,999 different ape NFTs available for purchase.
It is understood that Cole has not entered into a contract with the creators of “Ape Kids Club” and he has only retweeted an image of an NFT that included an illustrated image of the Premier League trophy.
NFTs are unique digital assets stored on the Blockchain and traded in cryptocurrencies. The ownership and provenance of NFTs are verified by the Blockchain, an online ledger. The two biggest cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin and Ethereum, but there are more than 5,000 different varieties.
Critics argue the tokens are potentially dangerous financial assets. NFTs remain part of an unregulated financial sector.
Terry and Ape Kids Club have been approached for comment.