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The former Chelsea and England captain John Terry has removed the Premier League trophy from the cartoon ape Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) he has been promoting on Twitter following a legal intervention from the Premier League itself.
The Premier League trophy is a registered trademark and the use of its image in a commercial venture requires a licensing agreement with the league itself. The Premier League wrote to “Ape Kids Club” - the NFT collection in question - to make that point this week.
Other tweets featuring NFTs – a digital asset bought and sold online – of famous players portrayed as cartoon apes beside the Premier League trophy have been deleted.
The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that the Premier League was considering legal action against the use of the trophy in NFTs, a relatively new online phenomenon which can fetch large sums as a form of cryptocurrency. NFTs are stored on the blockchain, the equivalent of a digital ledger, and are marketed as being unique. Their ownership and provenance are stored in the blockchain.
Terry has been an enthusiastic promoter of a 9,999 strong collection of NFTs, the “Ape Kids Club”, which is an off-shoot of the “Bored Ape Yacht Club”. While the original collection has seen pieces sell for as much as $461,868 (£342,000) to the performer Eminem last month, it is unclear how popular the “Ape Kids Club” has proven. As well as Terry promoting his own NFT, a caricature of the player as a baby ape, there have been similar NFT cartoons of Jack Wilshere, Ashley Cole and the Brazil international Willian.
— John Terry (@JohnTerry26) January 20, 2022
The former Premier League winner Nigel de Jong, once of Manchester City, also promoted a similar NFT on Twitter. That image has been deleted. In addition, it has been reported that Uefa also objected to the use of the Champions League trophy imagery in the NFTs in question.
The unregulated market of cryptocurrency and NFTs has been a concern for football authorities, with some current and past stars of the game eager to embrace what has proven to be a very profitable market for some big sporting names from the United States. Although some clubs have entered partnerships with the online venture Socios, that sells “fans’ token” which give access to certain privileges as well as being traded, the league itself is still considering its options.