Football is not a game, it is a religion. With each team comes their rabid fan following that has led to countless bar brawls amidst the frenzied atmosphere. With over 4 billion fans worldwide (for the record, the number of internet users in the world is also 4 Billion), football acts as the melting pots for diverse cultures to come together and forge new ones based around the team colors.
It is therefore not a surprise that blockchain enthusiasts began to find newer ways to enrich the fans’ experience and allow them a wider role in the affairs of their favorite teams and players.
Several football legends have participated in exhibition matches to raise awareness about football and collect funds for charities and noble causes. Since the top tier leagues are tightly scheduled with itineraries created for a long time in the foreseeable future, the players of the teams that play in top-tier leagues find it hard to find the time to play in such promotional matches for charities unless mandated by their bosses.
The only control that the fans can have over the fixtures and player-trading is via fantasy football leagues. According to the FSTA, the fantasy sports league is pegged to have a market valuation of over $7.22 Billion.
However, once these football greats retire, they find more time to participate in for-charity exhibition matches that allow a greater control to fans over match fixtures, stadiums to play in, and even jerseys to play in. Fabio Cannavaro, Andriy Shevchenko, Cafu, and Paul Scholes have put their weight behind the GLS league which has an interesting Blockchain component to it.
The GLS League
According to the website, “the Global Legends are a team of invited legendary soccer players from around the world, who have won the biggest competitions and are followed by the loyalist fans. The legends play a number of exhibition games in select cities around the world.”
Their player requirements are very stringent. The player criteria to qualify for the Global Legends Series is to have:
- Won the World Cup
- Won the European Championship
- Won the Champions League
- Played 50+ times for their country
How does Blockchain Help?
The Blockchain brings together fans and footballers together to lay down the future course of action for the league. It makes the system more decentralized and enables true democratic decision making than the autocratic ones taken today.
GLS League has partnered with 433token to develop ERC20 tokens to tokenize the entirety of the league’s activities. So, if I buy one of their tokens, I get to have a vote in deciding:
- Where do my favorite superstars play?
- Who they play against?
- Who does my favorite superstars mentor to become a better footballer?
..and other similar features.
At the time of writing, the 433token website features Andriy Shevchenko and Paul Scholes as confirmed mentors who will abide by the wishes of the token holders with respect to mentoring young talent, playing at token-holder decided stadiums, and meeting token-holder determined individuals for meets and greets.
Blockchain and Voting: The story so far
Blockchain enables a voting system for these projects where the token-holders are like the citizens of the football nation. We have already seen projects such earlier such as Polys which wanted all elections to go on the blockchain. Understandably, security experts rang warning bells against such an idea. Their main premise was that blockchain based voting will prevent independent and autonomous organizations from conducting free and fair elections.
I think we can safely conclude that concerns of the security experts stem from the fact that they do not trust decentralization as much as they should. It is the new shiny kid on the block but is prone to highly unpredictable behavior at times. This unpredictability makes a lot of power-hungry people very nervous.
Therefore, I feel that sporting events can exhibit how convenient, cost-effective, and peaceful can voting on blockchain be.
I had always expected the voting systems for sporting events to revolve around fantasy leagues or lower tier leagues because unfortunately, that's how groundswells work.
However, football greats such as Shevchenko and Scholes putting their weight behind Blockchain is far more monumental than Floyd Mayweather and hip-hop artists doing the same. The voices sound sanitized and there is gravitas to what they say.
As someone who has seen first-hand the lengths and researches the fantasy footballers go through, the promise of an actual stake in the functioning of an entire league is something I assume their dreams are made of.
With respect to Blockchain technologies, we’ve come to see and now expect projects that cater to our wants and not just our needs. Fractionalized ownership is just one of them but has garnered the most interest. While these Football guys are not exchanging anything tangible but are, kind of, trading favors, the market for such decentralized decision-making projects is on the rise.
We’ve seen the grand plans to decentralize the voting system which, in all probability, will allow vote audits of the kind that we’ve never seen in our democratic governments. When bitcoin came out ten years ago, there were a lot of concerns regarding transparent book-keeping. There are people on both sides of the fence. We just have to wait and watch for the winner to emerge.