The Football Association is “exploring” minting its own non-fungible token (NFT) collection.
The digital collectibles, which are authenticated using blockchain technology, could provide a “big new revenue stream” for the organization, according to the FA’s CEO, Mark Bullingham.
NFTs have become increasingly popular in football in recent months, with The Athletic revealing in March that the Premier League had decided on a company called ConsenSys for one of its official partners.
A number of football clubs have also released their own NFT collections, including reigning champions Manchester City and Champions League finalists Liverpool.
To advocates, NFTs are the latest iteration of sports collectables, like trading cards and clothing.
To detractors, they are a vehicle for financial speculation, sometimes changing hands for huge sums of money and potentially exposing fans to risk and losses as early investors make a quick buck.
The FA are now exploring the possibility of launching their own NFTs but Bullingham has insisted the organization will only take advantage of the sector “in the right way”.
Speaking at the latest UEFA Congress in Vienna, Bullingham said: “NFTs are definitely something we are definitely exploring. It is a big new revenue stream that everyone is exploring.
“I think it has to be done in the right way and obviously there is obviously a broader range of commercial options there. What we will do, we will do in the right way and at the right time. ”
Bullingham also discussed the potential introduction of an independent regulator in English football and said that the FA could explore changing how leveraged buyouts (LBOs) of clubs work.
An LBO is the acquisition of a company by borrowing money against an asset that is about to be purchased to meet the asking price.
In football, it usually involves investors using loans taken out against the club to pay for the cost of a takeover, then requiring the newly-purchased club to slowly pay them back. The most notable example in English football is arguably the Glazer family’s debt-laden takeover of Manchester United in 2005.
When asked whether LBOs could eventually be banned through an independent regulator, Bullingham said: “Yeah, I think that absolutely is something that will be explored.
“I did not say get rid of them completely. It’s the extent to which the buyer has leveraged it is important. ”
(Photo: Eddie Keogh – The FA / The FA via Getty Images)