CAST meets CAFC about Generous Robots sponsorship

On Wednesday morning CAST board members met with the club to discuss the recently announced sponsorship deal with Generous Robots DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation).

We were very interested to hear what protection from harm the club will put in place particularly for under 18s and other supporters given the sponsor operates in the unregulated non-fungible token (NFT) & cryptocurrency market. Given the volatility and risk profile of these products this is especially important as we all face a cost-of-living crisis.

Here is what we learned:

  1. The Robots DAO logo will only appear on the men’s first team shorts. It will not appear on any of the other teams’ kits, and it will not appear on replica kits available in the club shop.
  2. The deal is a sponsorship deal that does not give Generous Robots any direct access to the fan base. From Generous Robots’ point of view, the deal helps raise awareness of their project and gives them borrowed kudos from the Charlton Athletic ‘brand’. There will be some advertising of the DAO and its NFT project within the ground on the new LED boards.
  3. We stressed the importance of flagging risk. We were therefore pleased to hear that the club is already planning make it clear to fans that they should do their own due diligence if they are thinking of investing any of their own money. The exact form of words is being finalised. However, at the meeting, we discussed wording which included the warnings typically required by the Financial Conduct Authority when advertising investments and other financial products: ‘Fans should always conduct their own due diligence before investing any money. All investments can go down as well as up and it is never a good idea to stake more than you can afford to lose.’
  4. The deal is the third-largest sponsorship deal for the club after RSK and the University of Greenwich. The club did not provide information about the financial terms of the deal. They shared that they are aware of the ownership structure of the DAO and that the founders would prefer to remain unnamed as is fairly common in the NFT communities.

The meeting was attended by CAST board members Lauren Kreamer (barrister), Nigel Kleinfeld (Chartered Accountant) and Heather Alderson (Advertising). We met with Thomas Sandgaard, Raelynn Maloney, club Head of Commercial Partnerships Andrew Smith and Head of Communications Tom Rubashow.

CAST is affiliated to The Football Supporters Association (FSA). At the recent FSA AGM we were a signatory to a motion put forward by the West Ham Supporters Trust to call on the FSA to work with the FA and the leagues on some common self-regulatory standards for any crypto partnership in football. We will do our best to keep supporters informed of developments in this regard.

A brief explanation of what DAOs are can be found here:

For those who wish to understand a little more about Generous Robots, Martin Calladine, a football writer and author, has carried out some excellent, detailed investigative work on the entity, attempting to ascertain its legal and financial structure. The Twitter thread is here:

Notwithstanding the potential financial benefits of this sponsorship deal for the club, we would urge any fans considering becoming involved in this project to carry out their own research and ensure that they do not stake more than they can afford to lose.


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