Eredivisie players cash in on their own matches in crypto gambling game

Top football players gamble online with tens of thousands of euros on the crypto football picture site Sorare. The KNVB does not mind that players bet money via NFTs on their own matches. ‘Our disciplinary law says nothing about NFTs’, the union tells BNR when asked.

On the website, players can trade in digital football pictures of players that are sometimes worth more than a million euros. The tokens increase in value when a player performs well. Although the site bills itself as a ‘fantasy football’ destination, the company has already received a warning from the government in the UK for allegedly operating in the unlicensed gambling market. The Dutch Gaming Authority is also looking critically at Sorare, a spokesperson told BNR.

Dusan Tadic, Noussair Mazraoui, Davy Klaassen and Daley Blind of Ajax celebrate the 1-0 during Ajax – Heracles.Maurice van Steen

Despite this dubious reputation, the Dutch football world has plunged into the game with great enthusiasm. Players such as Daley Blind, Davy Klaassen, Kenneth Taylor, Calvin Stengs and Sébastien Haller have tens of thousands of euros worth of football cards in their possession. The Eredivisie also announced last month that it had signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with the French company.

The trade of Ajax players is closely monitored on Twitter. A player like Blind offered for sale tickets from goalkeeper André Onana in the run-up to the Cup Final this weekend. He also purchased Maarten Stekelenburg’s NFT together with Ajax player Klaassen. This led to speculation that the players were trading insider about Sunday’s lineup.

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Screenshot of Davy Klaassen who bought Stekelenburg on Sorare
Screenshot of Davy Klaassen who bought Stekelenburg on Sorare

Eredivisie gets a piece of the pie from gambling site

Sorare was founded in Paris in 2018 and has quickly become a huge success. The platform raised hundreds of millions in venture capital and the company is estimated to be worth more than $4 billion. The football cards that the company offers are linked to NFTs and those who want to trade on the platform must exchange their euros for the crypto currency Ethereum. This can easily be done with a credit card or bank transfer.

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Value increase of Stekelenburg tickets shown
Value increase of Stekelenburg tickets shown

The KNVB has strict rules regarding gambling. “In order to safeguard the integrity of football, it is prohibited to bet money on the result, progress and/or course of a competition in which a player participates,” the disciplinary committee said. Last year, an AZ player was suspended for two games because he had bet money on his own games.

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Daley Blind who bought Stekelenburg on Sorare
Daley Blind who bought Stekelenburg on Sorare

However, the KNVB states that the rules do not apply because players exchange their euros for crypto at the gate. As a result, Ajax player Daley Blind can own several NFTs of Ajax players, including a card of himself. Cards that thus become more valuable if he and his colleagues play well. However, because its own disciplinary law lags behind reality, the association cannot intervene. “We are following these developments closely,” said a spokesperson. ‘Nothing is yet included in the disciplinary law of the KNVB about trading NFTs (with or without insider knowledge).’

The Gaming Authority has informed BNR that it may investigate the company. The growing trade in NFTs related to sports ‘is on our radar’, the Gaming Authority said.

Reaction KNVB

The KNVB follows developments like this closely. We will of course look closely at this new phenomenon in the coming period. There is currently nothing included in the disciplinary law of the KNVB about trading with NFT (with or without insider knowledge).

With regard to gambling in general: Gambling by players, trainers, officials on own matches is strictly prohibited. The KNVB stands for football you can rely on. We fight for a transparent, honest and honest football landscape. The integrity of our competitions is our greatest asset. We are not naive and we also see what is happening worldwide and sport-wide. That is why we are fully committed to keeping football ‘clean’ with preventive and repressive measures such as a reporting obligation, a gambling ban and information.

Ajax player Kenneth Taylor also bought Stekelenburg when it became known that he will be goalkeeping in the cup final.
Ajax player Kenneth Taylor also bought Stekelenburg when it became known that he will be goalkeeping in the cup final.