Up until now, football’s relationship with cryptocurrency sponsorship has felt like a complete and utter free-for-all, with no rules whatsoever. Slowly but surely that is starting to change.

This week the UK government announced plans to crackdown on misleading ads for cryptocurrency companies, which would treat them like ads for other financial products, a move that could have far-reaching implications in the world of football which is increasingly dependent on the booming sector. Meanwhile Spain is leading a similar charge in the EU.

“Cryptoassets can provide exciting new opportunities, offering people new ways to transact and invest,” said Rishi Sunak, the UK chancellor. “But it’s important that consumers are not being sold products with misleading claims. We are ensuring consumers are protected, while also supporting innovation of the cryptoasset market.”

Volatile cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum boomed in value in 2021, leading to big financial gains for some people, but also generating huge amounts of hype which may mean latecomers are exposed to losses. Most cryptocurrencies have declined in value in recent months and nobody can predict what they will do next.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) a type of digital asset also based on blockchain technology with a lot of similarities to the examples outlined above, are excluded from the new rules.

But given there were almost literally no rules before this week, the shift from a Wild West to a very-slightly-less Wild West is a notable one.

Online betting ads have long been a huge revenue stream for football clubs, but that murky world is coming under increasing scrutiny and regulation. For example Italy imposed a strict ban on gambling firms recently.