FC Barcelona's marketing agreement with NFT Marketplace Ownix has been cancelled.
On Thursday, FC Barcelona announced the cancellation of a marketing agreement with non-fungible token (NFT) exchange Ownix. The announcement comes just days before the soccer giant is set to sell off its first NFT collection on the marketplace.
The cancellation came after Israeli crypto entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg was arrested earlier Thursday on fraud and assault allegations involving cryptocurrencies, according to the Associated Press and other newspapers. Hogeg is linked to Ownix, which runs on the Ethereum blockchain, according to the newspapers. In his LinkedIn profile, Hogeg identifies the company as one of his interests.
"FFC Barcelona hereby communicates the cancellation of the contract to generate and market NFT digital assets with Ownix with immediate effect, in light of information received today that goes against the Team's ideals," the club stated in a statement on its website.
The club has not responded to CoinDesk's attempts for comment at the time of publication.
The FC Barcelona NFT auction based on images and films from the club's 122-year history is set to take place on November 24, according to a countdown counter on the Ownix website. he launch will feature remarks from Joan Laporta, who took over as president of the club earlier this year, as well as other "important members" of the club, an email from an FC Barcelona representative said.
Barça, as the team is known, is only second in value to Real Madrid in Spanish, according to a ranking by Brand Finance, which said the team might drop down the ladder because of the departure of star striker Lionel Messi – who has his own NFT collection – for Paris St. Germain in a deal that also included Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
NFTs have being investigated by sports clubs all around the world as a means of generating revenue and increasing fan involvement. FC Barcelona has experienced serious financial problems in recent years, with CEO Ferran Reverter telling reporters in October that the club was "technically bankrupt" early this year and that it would have been "dissolved" if it had been a public limited company (PLC).