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Gareth Southgate is seeking legal advice after his name was falsely used as part of an apparent cryptocurrency scam.
The England manager was referenced in a marketing email claiming that he had invested in ‘Bitcoin Bank’, a scheme that describes itself on its website as “an auto-trading robot”. The message also even claims that Southgate had been on Ellen DeGeneres’s American TV talk-show to explain his success.
Southgate’s representatives moved quickly on Tuesday to categorically refute the claims.
“The details about Mr Southgate in this story are completely untrue and his name has been used without permission,” said a spokesperson. “As such, his management team are taking legal advice on the matter.”
The portrayal of Southgate in the email would raise immediate suspicion in just about anyone with knowledge of the England manager. It describes the notably cerebral former England, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender as having “made a name for himself as a brash straight-talker who doesn’t mind being honest about everything, including how he makes his money”. It adds: “Last week he appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show and announced a new ‘wealth loophole’ which can transform anyone into a millionaire within 3-4 months.
“[Southgate said] ‘what’s made me successful is jumping into new opportunities quickly — without any hesitation. My No 1 money-maker is a new cryptocurrency auto-trading operation called Bitcoin Bank’.”
Bitcoin Bank’s website has no contact details but, alongside positive reviews on websites such as UK Trustpilot and Yell.com, there is a London telephone number. Telegraph Sport called the number and the receptionist stressed that it was not the base for any organisation called Bitcoin Bank.
Football’s wider relationship with legitimate cryptocurrency schemes has become increasingly controversial after several Premier League clubs announced new partnerships. The link between football clubs and betting companies is currently being examined by a Government Review which could result in the phased end to shirt sponsorship deals.