The Premier League and Uefa Champions League football associations are investigating tweets sent by the former England and Chelsea footballer John Terry promoting NFTs that depict cartoons of baby apes, some shown alongside the leagues’ trophies which are protected under trademark law.
The Ape Kids Club NFTs in question are offshoots of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, a collection of 10,000 digital illustrations of cartoon monkeys, one of which was bought by the rapper Eminem for $461,868 last month.
Designed by the Thai artist Kun Vic, also known as Victorior, the Ape Kids Club features 9,999 different NFTs, which are intended to entice children into the NFT space and are also available for purchase. The average price currently stands at $1,300.
Terry, who now works as a consultant at Chelsea’s training academy, has been actively promoting the NFTs online and praising players and former players who have bought the digital collectibles. The former England defender Ashley Cole and the former Holland and Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong have also tweeted NFT images showing the Premier League trophy, which is protected under trademark law. Its use in any commercial venture requires a licensing agreement.
According to The Athletic, Uefa is also investigating the matter after learning that illustrations of the Champions League and Europa League trophies have been used in the NFTs. A Uefa spokesperson says: “Uefa takes the protection of its intellectual property rights seriously and we are investigating this matter further.”
Chelsea Football Club is also reportedly looking into Terry’s posts because some NFTs have included images of the club’s badge.
Terry and Apes Kid Club could not be reached for comment.