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Arsenal tokens to add new fan engagement

Arsenal Fan token

English Premier League side Arsenal have partnered with sports blockchain provider Chiliz to launch the club’s custom fan tokens on Chiliz’s Socios.com app.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, sports clubs have had to look for other revenue streams to compensate for the lack of ticketing on game days. Arsenal joins a growing list of sports entities on the platform, including Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain and AC Milan.

The platform enables fans to purchase club fan tokens, an area of the blockchain industry that generated over $200 million in revenue in the first half of 2021 alone. According to the Socios.com management team, the app has had almost 1.2 million downloads since its launch in 2019. Of those, almost 70% took place in 2021.

Fan tokens can be exchanged for rewards such as merchandise, the ability to participate in polls, access exclusive content, and play interactive games. They can also lead to experiences like meeting players or attending home games. The Arsenal-specific digital collectibles can be bought and sold through the marketplace as a cryptocurrency.

“We are committed to finding new and innovative ways for all our supporters – whether local or international – to get closer to the club,” Arsenal Commercial Director Peter Silverstone said.

Chiliz has allocated over $50 million to expand into the top sporting leagues in the United States, whilst also becoming an official sponsor of LaLiga football club Valencia CF. The sponsorship will showcase a token logo in the front of the players’ jerseys this coming season.

In addition, Chiliz is also sponsoring Argentina’s top football league, which will officially be called Torneo Socios.com for the 2021/2022 season.

As a club, Arsenal is not new to the blockchain space. The club has partnerships for three mainstream applications of blockchain in sports – Sorare for fantasy football, Fantastec for digital collectibles, and now Chiliz for fan tokens.

In 2018, Arsenal also signed a sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency application CashBet. This deal was the first time a major global club has partnered with a cryptocurrency firm.

Manchester United commit to a renewable future

Renewable energy

With a shared mission of tackling climate change and creating a cleaner world, Manchester United have announced the renewal of their global partnership with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. – a leading producer of renewable fuels.

The partnership reinforces the Red Devil’s commitment to environmental sustainability through working together with Renewable Energy Group to raise awareness of the company’s biofuel products and to encourage positive environmental change among Manchester United’s global fanbase and beyond.

As one of the first football clubs in the world to launch a carbon reduction programme in 2008, Manchester United have reduced annual emissions from its operations by 2,700 tonnes since then. The club will be seeking to build on this record through its new partnership with Renewable Energy Group.

Manchester United Chief Operating Officer Collette Roche acknowledged the importance of Manchester United being a leader in environmental awareness and sustainability of the planet.

“As one of the most popular sports teams in the world, the club has a powerful platform to help raise awareness of how people can contribute towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for our planet,” she said.

“We are already an environmental leader among football clubs after 12 consecutive years of reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions. We will now work with Renewable Energy Group to explore ways of shrinking our carbon footprint further. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against climate change, and the goal of developing a greener, cleaner planet.”

Renewable Energy Group President and Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Warner spoke about the significance of enhancing awareness through the partnership with United.

“As a leading producer of cleaner, bio-based diesel, it’s a natural fit for Renewable Energy Group to partner with another sustainability-minded leader like Manchester United,” she said.

“Together, alongside Manchester United, we will amplify our simple-to-adopt opportunities for individuals and organisations to reduce carbon now.”

Australian Clem Morfuni becomes owner of Swindon Town FC

Swindon Town Morfuni

Australian Clem Morfuni has become the majority stakeholder in League Two side Swindon Town FC, with an ambition of bringing in a new era to the club.

The Robins, who were relegated from League One last season and have just nine senior players contracted – including Australian Jordan Lyden – will be backed by Morfuni for the foreseeable future with the upcoming League Two campaign less than three weeks away.

Morfuni, a previous minority stakeholder in the side, founded his plumbing business Axis Services Group in Australia in 1994. It is now a globally operating business with a financial turnover of $200 million each year.

The acquisition has also signalled the end of a lengthy ownership battle for the League Two club who have fought recent financial hardships. Moreover, the club’s fans have rejoiced across social media at the sight of Morfuni’s long-awaited arrival.

In a club statement, Morfuni acknowledged the importance of having a ‘fans first’ philosophy on and off the field.

“I want to tell the fans that you’ve got your club back, a football club should be the heartbeat of the town and the local community and should be something that the whole town and surrounding communities takes great pride in,” he said.

“Without fans you don’t have a club and I want to thank every supporter (many who I have got to know personally) who have fought for their club and helped me to gain control. I know I am indebted to you and will work hard to make this club a club all our fans can be proud of.

“Last season we came last in the football league in terms of fan engagement; this season I aim to come first.”

Morfuni’s takeover of the club has ushered in a new contingent of executive and technical staff, with arrivals including Swindon Town Supporters Trust board member Rob Angus as club CEO and Ben Chorley and Ben Garner as the club’s Director of Football and Head Coach respectively.

In addition, Morfuni spoke on the significance of building a youthful side, something which bodes well for young Australians seeking a pathway into European football.

“I want a young, forward thinking, vibrant club. I want the average age of the team to come down, that doesn’t mean every player will be young because you need a balance, but I want a young side that plays an exciting style of football and create a club where top young players want to join because of the environment, the opportunities they will be given,” he said.

Morfuni’s full statement can be read here.

One2Pro: The former Premier League player who has developed a game-changing app in Australia

Currently residing in Western Australia, former Premier League footballer Aaron Tighe has recently launched the One2Pro app, providing footballers of all ages with an innovative skills-based program to challenge themselves.

Tighe had stints at Luton Town and Leicester City before his career ended through injury at the young age of 22, before eventually moving into coaching.

After coaching youth players in the UK, he moved to Australia and ultimately set up his own skills academy down under.

Tighe’s academy looked to improve the individual skills of players through a specialised program and after running it for around 20 years, he looked to technology to expand the program to a wider audience.

“About 4 years ago I was listening to an interview with Tony Robbins and he just mentioned if you are doing something really good and it’s offering some good support to people, think about how you can spread it to more people, to give more value,” Tighe told Soccerscene.

“That was when the idea came into my head to put the program, that I have been doing for 20 odd years, into a mobile phone app.”

The app provides users with 92 professional skills and techniques to master through 12 modules, with detailed video instructions provided.

What sets the app apart from others on the market however, is the specialised feedback you receive from professional coaches to help footballers improve their ability.

“The unique difference to the app is that you actually get to work with a physical coach,” Tighe said.

“On a lot of the apps out there, when you look at the reviews, they are very much – download the app, here’s the content, follow the instructions and off you go.

“I thought what would be different and unique would be for the user to watch the videos for the instructions of the skills, but then they upload their own video of them doing those skills and pass them on to an actual coach.

“The coach will then comment back, score your efforts through a medal system (bronze, silver and gold) and guide you through the program.

“It’s a very effective one-on-one coaching program.”

Creator of One2Pro Aaron Tighe.

Tighe, as a youngster, imagined developing his own skills with the close assistance from a professional player, and this became a major motivation in creating an app for the next generation.

“One of the reasons why I developed the app was I remember as a kid myself playing on the street with your mates and imagining a professional footballer or coach coming down to the local park or street to teach us some skills,” he said.

“I thought to myself It’s impossible to go physically everywhere, so the app would be the best thing.”

The One2Pro app has only been on the market since earlier this year, however, it has garnered a following from regions all across the world.

“We’ve had a lot of take up in the US, Australia, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Africa and even the Middle East,” Tighe said.

“It’s very exciting to see this thing hit different corners of the world and see players use it from all over the globe.”

Due to its popularity, Tighe has received constant feedback from users who continue to use the app to improve their skillsets.

“They’ve said It’s simple to use, they find the skills challenging and interesting to learn,” he said.

“A big one for me is they have improved their confidence. The players will turn around and say I got the feedback and it’s given me more confidence in my ability to master the skill.”

Although the app is relatively new, Tighe does have plans to expand it in the future and may look to use the established template for other sports.

“Ultimately what I’d love to do first is expand this out to schools and clubs where they can work with their own coaches if they want to,” he said.

“In the future I would also like to investigate whether I could use a similar formula for any sport or discipline, whether tennis or cricket.”

For more information and to download the One2Pro app, visit the company’s website here: https://www.one2pro.com

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