Report: NWSL’s crypto partner could leave players without promised funds

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The NWSL has told players that they may not receive money promised to them through the league’s partnership with Voyager Digital after the cryptocurrency platform filed for bankruptcy early in July, Sportico reported.

In a letter distributed last Thursday to athletes and acquired by Sportico, the NWSL said that there are “no definite answers at this time on if, or when, player accounts will be funded.”

The NWSL announced its partnership with Voyager in December. Half of the money from the deal was to be distributed to Voyager accounts to allow individual athletes to invest in cryptocurrencies. However, the accounts were never funded, Sportico reported.

“The Player Fund was always intended to be distributed into accounts at Voyager in cryptocurrency, with the goal of educating players regarding investment in the crypto space,” the letter said. “As such, there was always risk regarding the volatility of the cryptocurrency market.”

The other half of the deal was set to be paid to the NWSL in cash. If the accounts remain unfunded, the league intends to work with the NWSLPA to share some of that money with players. The NWSL did receive its cash payment for the first year of the deal, Sportico reported.

NWSLPA executive director Meghann Burke said Monday in a statement that “no player is missing a paycheck.”

“Nothing in the CBA is in crypto,” she continued.

The league’s deal with Voyager includes a sponsorship for the league’s 10th anniversary season, and the platform still is listed as part of that promotion on the NWSL website.

Field signs and other Voyager advertising also remain up throughout the league, likely in a bid to bolster the NWSL’s claim to the money still owed by Voyager. The cryptocurrency platform’s bankruptcy proceedings, though, make it improbable that the NWSL will receive those funds, Sportico reported.

In a statement last month, Voyager explained what the bankruptcy could mean and said that it had cash reserves that are insured and untouched. Eventually, the company is hoping that money will be available for withdrawal. However, the crypto in users’ accounts likely will not be fully returned, with the options dependent on how the company restructures.