UEFA and AntChain, the blockchain business of Ant Group, have announced a five-year global partnership around blockchain technologies and to jointly explore how blockchain technology can be used to further the digital transformation of football industry and improve the experiences of fans around the world.
Under the agreement, AntChain will become the official global blockchain partner of UEFA EURO 2020. This is the first such partnership for UEFA, which today also revealed the tournament’s Top Scorer Trophy designed by Alipay, the world’s leading digital payment and lifestyle platform operated by Ant Group and UEFA’s global partner since November 2018.
The UEFA EURO 2020 Top Scorer Trophy is the first major international football Top-Scorer trophy to utilize blockchain in its design and will feature a hash value at its base through which the scoring records of the tournament’s top scorers will be uploaded and permanently stored on a blockchain based on AntChain’s solution.
The design of the trophy draws inspiration from the first character in Alipay’s Chinese name, 支 (pronounced as zhi), which means support, as well as payment. The character reflects Alipay’s roots that trace back to 2004, when the company was founded as an escrow service to tackle the lack of trust between online buyers and sellers, facilitating online and offline commerce.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, the marketing director of UEFA, said: “Following the eight-year global partnership between UEFA and Alipay, we are pleased to reach this partnership with AntChain. In this challenging year for the traditional sports industry, the cooperation with AntChain fully demonstrates UEFA’s commitment to accelerate its digital transformation and working together to find way to offer better fans’ experiences.”
Geoff Jiang, President of Intelligent Technology Business Group, Ant Group, said: “We are excited for AntChain to become the official partner of UEFA EURO 2020 and UEFA National Team Football. As football and technology increasingly come together to innovate for fans globally, AntChain will explore how innovative technologies including blockchain can help the sports industry better develop and facilitate its digital transformation. We will also work to make global sports more inclusive by making it more accessible to underserved communities through digital technology, so that more people around the world can experience the joy of football. “
Alipay will also launch “Top Scorers in Campus”, a new advocacy program dedicated to helping the development of campus football in China. To inspire more teenagers to pursue their football dreams, the “Top Scorers in Campus” program will award trophies with the same design as the Top Scorer Trophy of UEFA EURO 2020 to the best young players in campus football tournaments across China. Similar to the UEFA EURO 2020 top scorer trophy, these student footballers’ scoring records and honors will also be stored on the blockchain provided by AntChain.