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Ian Ayre departs Footies ticket blockchain venture

Former Liverpool FC chief executive Ian Ayre has stepped down as chairman of Footies, a blockchain ticketing venture for sports venues and teams, after the product reached demonstration stage.

TechFinancials said the search has begun for a replacement for Ayre, the founder of Footies, who now wants to concentrate on his role as chief executive of Major League Soccer expansion team Nashville.

Ayre’s decision came as financial technology company TechFinancials announced in a statement to the London Stock Exchange that it has now reached the stage where it has a demonstration product for Footies and hopes to achieve first sales in 2019.

Footies offers sports teams the chance to define the rules that are applied to the digital tickets, such as setting the price range that the ticket can be re-sold on a proprietory, white labeled secondary market and allowing the ticket to be transferred either back to the sports organisation orto another individual.

“I believe that the product we have created will play an important role in shaping the future of the ticketing market and how supporters enjoy the match day experience,” said Ayre, who was chief executive at Liverpool between 2014-17 and appointed current manager Jurgen Klopp.

“As a stakeholder in this venture I will be watching its future progress with excitement and I wish the team the best on the next stage of development.”

TechFinancials said the demonstration product also includes a mobile app which will allow fans to manage their digital tickets. It is Footies’ intention to complete the development of its Minimum Valuable Product for sports organisations and teams in Q3 2019.

TechFinancials bought a 75-per-cent stake in Footies late last year.

Asaf Lahav, chief executive of TechFinancials, said: “We would like to thank Ian for his leadership and guidance in helping to define Footies’ strategy and we wish him well as he devotes his energy to his CEO role in Nashville.”

Speaking last year Lahav explained why he believes Footies can be a success after linking with TechFinancials.

“With the Footies platform built on the company’s pioneering proprietary blockchain infrastructure, we aim to disrupt the broken market of sports ticketing and bring the power back to venues, clubs and fans,” Lahav elaborated.