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- 8xBet co-founder’s LinkedIn profile found to use stock image
- Irregularities also circle marketing firm used by 8xBet as spokespeople
- City previously suspended 3Key partnership over similar issues
English soccer giants Manchester City’s commercial partnership with 8xBet contains several ‘anomalies’, according to a Mail on Sunday report raising questions over the betting firm’s legitimacy.
The reigning Premier League champions announced an agreement with 8xBet in July, making the gambling brand the club’s ‘official betting partner’ in Asia. As part of the deal, 8xBet was to produce content in collaboration with City, as well as gaining brand exposure at the team’s Etihad Stadium and other marketing inventory to use across the Asian region.
Following the announcement, soccer magazine Josimar revealed several alleged contradictions surrounding 8xBet, including conflicting details on its workforce and business origins. Neither the bookmaker nor City responded to questions posed by the publication at the time.
Now, 8xBet faces fresh scrutiny after the Mail on Sunday determined that the image used for an apparent LinkedIn profile of the firm’s co-founder Trinh Thu Thang is a stock image that has been widely used elsewhere online. According to the British newspaper, the profile is ‘false’ and not created by anyone connected to the company.
The publication has also found that a woman posing as a representative of 8xBet is in fact a London-based model with no connection to the firm. The woman featured in a video that announced former England striker Teddy Sheringham as a brand ‘ambassador.’
The Mail says the promotional video is designed to create a ‘fictional narrative’, but 8xBet’s founder and acting chief executive Ryan Li denied this in an interview with Insider Sport.
“Just like when a football club makes a star signing, we wanted to show our pride and excitement and to let everyone know about Teddy joining 8xBet,” he said. “So, the first step was to celebrate the partnership with our official signing ceremony, which is featured in our announcement video.”
In addition to 8xBet, the Mail on Sunday are reporting that QOO Global, a Dubai-based marketing firm referred to by Manchester City as the gambling business’ spokespeople, has irregularities of its own. 8xBet is the only client listed on QOO’s website, as ‘confidentiality’ reasons mean it cannot showcase others. The Mail also alleges that QOO’s employees have fake social media profiles claiming links with the bookmaker.
No party named in the Mail report has made an official comment.
The investigation into 8xBet comes after City suspended a partnership with cryptocurrency firm 3Key Technologies last year after similar reports emerged concerning the platform’s authenticity.
The club recently posted record revenues and profits for the 2021/22 financial year. Yet the English soccer champions remain under investigation by the Premier League over alleged financial irregularities, including claims of fake consultancy contracts, ‘disguised investment’ through sponsorship deals and of violating rules concerning signing underage players.
The report on 8xBet comes after Premier League team Fulham recently cancelled its partnership with Titan Capital Markets, following questions raised over the CFD trading company’s legitimacy.