Atletico Madrid, one of Spain’s leading football clubs, is preparing to launch an unexpected legal battle against Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange WhaleFin. This legal action stems from allegations that an important sponsorship income of 40 million euros has not been paid.
At the beginning of the 2022/23 season, Atletico Madrid signed a five-year partnership agreement with WhaleFin. According to this partnership, the cryptocurrency exchange would be one of the club’s main sponsors. However, Atletico Madrid claims that WhaleFin failed to fulfill its financial obligations and violated the contract. As a result, the club is demanding 20 million euros in compensation.
Similar incidents have been witnessed in the world of football sponsorships with blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. The owner of WhaleFin, Amber Group, faced financial difficulties and abruptly terminated a $25 million annual sponsorship agreement with English Premier League club Chelsea seven months after the agreement was signed in December 2022.
Italian clubs Inter Milan and Roma also faced similar financial challenges. Both clubs terminated their relationships with blockchain company DigitalBits, which failed to fulfill its payment obligations, resulting in losses of more than 16 million euros for Inter and more than 11 million euros for Roma.
While the legal process of the Atletico Madrid case continues, it stands out as an example highlighting the complexities and risks associated with cryptocurrency sponsorships in the sports industry. The inability to fulfill financial commitments raises questions about the long-term viability of such partnerships and the diligence that football clubs must exercise when collaborating with crypto assets.