Atletico Madrid Pursues $44 Million Lawsuit Against WhaleFin Over Unsettled Sponsorship Dues

Atletico Madrid Pursues $44 Million Lawsuit Against WhaleFin Over Unsettled Sponsorship Dues

Atletico Madrid, the revered Spanish football club, is gearing up for a legal dispute with Singaporean cryptocurrency exchange WhaleFin over an unpaid €40 million sponsorship deal. The club alleges that WhaleFin breached the contract terms for the 2022/23 season by failing to fulfill payment obligations, prompting Atletico Madrid to pursue €20 million in damages.

The legal clash unfolds against the backdrop of financial challenges faced by Amber Group, WhaleFin’s owner. In December 2022, Amber Group’s difficulties led to the termination of a $25 million annual sponsorship deal with English Premier League’s Chelsea FC, just seven months into the agreement. During this period, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency trading firm downsized its workforce by around 300 employees and initiated the winding down of its retail operations, underscoring its financial struggles.

This situation mirrors challenges experienced by other European football clubs in their dealings with cryptocurrency firms. Prominent Italian clubs Inter Milan and Roma faced sponsorship setbacks with blockchain company DigitalBits, severing ties after it failed to pay over €27 million ($30 million) in combined sponsorship fees.

Roma’s partnership with DigitalBits began with a three-year shirt sponsorship agreement with Zytara Labs in July 2021. Similarly, Inter Milan signed a four-year contract for sleeve sponsorship rights, later upgraded to front-of-shirt rights for the 2022-23 season. By October of the previous year, Inter Milan encountered problems with the partnership, eventually seeking a new shirt sponsor. Despite an €85 million agreement, Inter Milan revealed in March that it had not received any payments from DigitalBits for the season, prompting the removal of the DigitalBits logo from their shirts due to ongoing payment failures.


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