At the time of its sensational 2021 downfall, Football Index – an online gambling platform that allowed customers to purchase and sell “shares” in professional football players and gamble on their future performance – wiped out thousands of pounds of its users and prompted a Government review into the sector, along with the company’s failure. Its failure caused chaos, but the more scandalous thing to learn was that a new website offering a similar service appeared only days after the platform of Football Index crashed down.
The website, called AllStars Trader, offers users the chance to buy and sell virtual football players in return for real cash. As The Athletic reported, it also has a sister website, AllStars Digital, which promotes a service involving the use of real-time tradeable products to monetise sports stars’ performance – all of this based on some controversial technology of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency.
The websites feature a buy and sell price for football players, with customers given the opportunity to track the changes in these prices over time.
Reportedly, the website AllStars Trader would focus not on the British and Irish regulated markets but on the one of Nigeria, with a number of LinkedIn posts showing that the operator is organising in-person events in various provincial cities there. It is also using the social media networks WhatsApp and Telegram to seek out recruits.
CPO Denies Any Links and Similarities between AllStars Trader and Football Index
Currently, Akash Gharu is the chief product officer of AllStars Trader. He also occupies the product and operations chief information officer of the AllStars product’s data provider, Adrix.
In the period from July 2019 to December 2020, he worked as the chief technical officer (CTO) of Football Index’s parent company, Index Labs. According to Mr Gharu’s profile on LinkedIn, he had a role in the senior technology leadership of Football Index during the company’s 5th year of operation.
In an interview for The Athletic, he said that he was never a director nor a shareholder of the company and had left the business as an employee about 4 months before it failed. He also rejected having any influence over Index Labs’ or Football Index’s board and decision-making processes.
As explained by Akash Gharu, AllStars Trader had originally been trading under the name Vita Markets until being rebranded to its current name in March 2021, when a new head of marketing took over. He further denied any correlation between the downfall of Football Index and the AllStars Trader’s brand launch in March last year.
Mr Gharu described himself as a critic of the business model used by Football Index and explained that his new professional endeavours are a totally different product from the ones offered by the collapsed company. As he explained, AllStars Trader operates on a contract-for-difference (CFD) model, which allows traders to gain profit (or, eventually, lose money) from price volatility without actually owning the underlying asset.
Furthermore, he noted that while Football Index’s operations were regulated as a gambling product by the country’s gambling watchdog, AllStars Trader is categorised as a trading website, with CFDs being currently traded as financial instruments around the world. A disclaimer, informing users there is a high risk for them of losing money, was placed on the operator’s website.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.