Eredivisie players cash in on their own matches in cryptocurrency gambling

Top soccer players bet online with tens of thousands of euros on crypto soccer imaging site Sorare. The KNVB doesn’t mind players betting money on their own matches. ‘Our disciplinary law says nothing about NFTs,’ the union tells BNR when asked.

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

Ajax’s Dusan Tadic, Noussair Mazraoui, Davy Klaassen and Daley Blind celebrate the 1-0 win during Ajax – Heracles.maurice vansteen

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

The Ajax player swap is closely followed on Twitter. The likes of Blind and Klaassen sold tickets to goalkeeper André Onana in the run-up to this weekend’s Cup final and bought tickets from Maarten Stekelenburg. This led to speculation that the players were trading inside information about Sunday’s lineup.

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Screenshot of Davy Klaassen who bought Stekelenburg in Sorare,
Screenshot of Davy Klaassen who bought Stekelenburg in Sorare,

Eredivisie takes a part of the gambling site

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

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Increased value of Stekelenburg entries shown
Increased value of Stekelenburg entries 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 development of a competition in which a player participates,” the disciplinary committee said. Last month, 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 in Sorare
Daley Blind who bought Stekelenburg in Sorare

However, the KNVB claims 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 multiple Ajax player NFTs, including a card of himself. Cards that thus become more valuable if he and his teammates play well. However, because its own disciplinary law lags behind reality, the association cannot intervene. “We are following these developments closely,” a spokesman said. “Nothing is yet included in the KNVB disciplinary law on NFT trading (with or without insider knowledge).”

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

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

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