Ozil group’s NFT plan for Necaxa impeded by Mexican Football Federation

The German midfielder and his investment partners want to sell part of their Liga MX club ownership stake through a digital token

Mesut Ozil and his ownership partners in Liga MX club Necaxa could have their plan to sell on a portion of their stake through a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) blocked by the Mexican Football Federation.

Ozil’s group announced this week that it would sell a digital token representing a 1 per cent stake in Necaxa to the public. However, the Mexican Football Federation released a statement Tuesday night saying the scheme was likely not allowed under its current rules. The plan, it has argued, defies the guideline that league approval is needed for any sale of a financial stake in a club, no matter how small.

NFTs, which are a form of rare online collectibles usually purchased using cryptocurrency, remain a murky legal subject given the newness of the industry, so it’s possible the Ozil-involved ownership group will push back against the Mexican Football Federation.

What was the proposal for the Necaxa ownership NFT?

Ozil is part of an investment group that has purchased a reported 50 per cent stake in Necaxa. Among the individuals involved in the project are the NBA’s Victor Oladipo, MLB’s Justin Verlander and skier Bode Miller.

They have all proposed the creation of an NFT that would represent a 1 per cent stake in the club. In other words, they would sell a small share of their portion of the organisation to the public, with the highest bidder being awarded a unique digital token that in addition to interest in Necaxa comes along with promised perks such as access to the team and its facilities, tickets to home and away games, championship rings, and team merchandise.

Crucially, the 1 per cent stake could then be sold on to anyone. The norms of the NFT industry suggest that Ozil’s investment group would get creator royalties from any further changing of hands, though that has not yet been confirmed in this instance.

What has the Mexican Football Federation said?

The problem in the eyes of the Mexican Football Federation is that all sales are supposed to be approved by the league, and the sale of the NFT on the blockchain would not follow that protocol.

“In accordance with our regulations, the membership certificates [of ownership] may not be transferred or modified under any figure other than the express approval of the Assembly of the MX LIGA and confirmation of the Executive Committee and/or the General Assembly of the Mexican Football Federation,” wrote the governing body in a statement posted to its official website.

“Therefore, the direct or indirect equity participation of a LIGA MX Club is not subject to any type of exchange, or purchase by any means or form of payment (including NFTs), other to those previously recognised in our regulations.

“Any change or direct or indirect addition of shareholders (regardless of the legal form in question) will be considered as a replacement of the membership certificate and therefore will be subject to compliance with the requirements described above.”

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