Spanish Football Clubs Sue Crypto Sponsors – Which Teams Are Affected?

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
A flag featuring the crest of the Spanish football club Celta Vigo.
Source: Alexey Novikov/Adobe

Spanish football (soccer) is suffering a “crypto hangover,” a new report has claimed – with many La Liga clubs left with “defaults, complaints, and an experience to forget” after partnerships with crypto sponsors soured.

The latest club to suffer problems with a sponsor from the crypto sector is Celta Vigo. The club partnered with the Turkish crypto exchange Bitci in 2021. 

But in a press release published on Twitter earlier this week, Celta claimed that the exchange has “not made any payments” since the deal was struck.

Celta wrote that it “has been forced to demand Bitci to fulfill its payment obligations on several occasions.”

The club wrote that Bitci had “limited itself to offering various promises of payment, which it has never fulfilled.”

The club stated it had “decided to initiate legal action” to “request the full compliance of what the parties agreed.”

The club concluded that it was making “the greatest efforts” to solve an “unpleasant situation” that had been “caused exclusively by Bitci.”

But Celta’s case is not an isolated incident. Xataka reported that Bitci had requested payment delays to a number of its other Spanish partners – including Celta rivals Valencia, as well as the Barcelona-based La Liga side Espanyol.

Espanyol said they were attempting to take Bitci to court over unpaid fees last year.

Which Other Spanish Football Clubs Are Suffering a ‘Crypto Hangover?’

Xakata reported that Bitci claims it has the “solvency” to pay its bills to Spanish clubs. But it reportedly says that its hands have been tied by recently introduced Turkish legislation.

The same crypto platform also has sponsorship deals with Cádiz, Alavés, and Real Betis. It also penned a deal with the Royal Spanish Football Federation – with its logo printed on Spanish national team training attire.

But Bitci is not the only crypto platform to embark on a rocky ride with La Liga teams. 

Xakata also reported that last year, Real Sociedad’s main shirt sponsor, a fan token issuer named Iqoniq, folded. Iqoniq owed Sociedad $875,000 in unpaid sponsorship fees at the time of its liquidation.

Earlier this month, two top-level Brazilian footballers announced their intention to sue a fellow pro player, claiming that he had convinced them to invest in a crypto pyramid scheme.