FIFA have announced that Crypto.com will be one of the main official sponsors of World Cup 2022 – despite the fact that cryptocurrency trading is illegal in Qatar.
It’s the first time that the decentralised crypto sector has sponsored a major global sporting tournament – although football clubs around the globe are no strangers to striking commercial deals with crypto firms and their similarly unregulated sibling, NFT platforms.
Crypto.com, which has a presence in dozens of countries around the world and a reported customer base of ten million, have been moving steadily into sports sponsorships, and their name now adorns what was formerly known as the Staples Center in Los Angeles – home to the LA Lakers and Clippers, amongst other teams.
They also sponsor Italy’s Serie A, Formula 1 and UFC events – the latter as part of a ten-year deal costing a stonking $175 million, and the Crypto.com branding also appears at the home grounds of PSG, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Montreal Canadiens.
Announcing the historic link-up with the World Cup, FIFA’s chief commercial officer Kay Madati said:
“Crypto.com has already demonstrated a commitment to supporting top-tier teams and leagues, major events and iconic venues across the world, and there is no platform bigger, or with a greater reach and cultural impact, than FIFA’s global platform of football.
“We are delighted to have a global brand like Crypto.com join us as a sponsor of the exciting and ground-breaking FIFA World Cup in Qatar, ultimately helping to grow our beautiful game on a global scale.”
Van Gaal Blasts ‘Bulls***’ FIFA
The relationship between FIFA and Crypto.com is a curious one given that trading bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has been illegal in Qatar since 2018.
But the deal will see the Crypto.com branding appear at a number of the World Cup’s host stadiums, and of course appear to a TV audience around the globe – an estimated one billion people tuned in to the 2018 final between France and Croatia.
The governing body has been accused of selling football’s soul to the highest bidder before, with plenty in the beautiful game still questioning the decision to allow Qatar to host the tournament in the first place – not least Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal.
He questioned the true reasons for FIFA’s decision to send the World Cup to the Middle East in an explosive interview. When quizzed on Qatar being selected as hosts, the Dutchman said:
“Now, everybody knows that I find that ridiculous.
“It’s ridiculous that we are going to play in a country – how does FIFA say it? To develop the football there. That is bull****. But it doesn’t matter – it’s about money, commercial interests. That’s the main motive of FIFA.”
An estimated 6,500 migrant workers have died building the infrastructure for the World Cup – many of them through heat exhaustion. According to the friends of some of the deceased, employees are tasked with digging roads and building stadiums in 40˚C….with the princely sum of £8.30 per day their prize.