Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Vasilis Torosidis, captain of the Greek National Team and current right back for Bologna F.C, to discuss all things football. He recently became an advisor to a tech startup called Stars Group, who is creating a decentralized digital currency for football transactions. I appreciated Vasilis taking the time to discuss with me.
Vasilis, You’ve had a great career in football, participating in two world cups, two european cups, as well as participating in the champions league with Roma and Olympiakos, and continue to make a mark at Bologna. Tell me why you love this game so much and is there anything you would want to see be improved in the sport?
Do I have to pick just one? (laughs)…I love this game. I have loved this game since I was a boy, and am just happy to still be playing and have a great group of teammates that I get to work with everyday.
Look, people love this sport because of the same reasons I love this sport; passion, intensity, and the excitement of competition. I love that football is the most popular sport in the world right now, but there are a couple things that need to change for the industry to grow in the right way. We need to get fans more involved in the game and give people around the world more access. Also, I think we need to add more transparency to the game as a whole.
What do you mean by that?
Like I said, football is growing and has fans all over the world. It’s breaking all barriers of language, culture, country, and that is something new and exciting to the sport. But, our fans that are watching from different countries are being left out. It’s hard for Football clubs, management, and leagues to give fans around the world access to content, products, experiences and live broadcasts. We (football) need something to help shift how our fans can engage with us or we will lose them due to these inefficiencies in the marketplace.
Then on the other side of things, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes in football and I think we need to bring them to the forefront in order to create a more transparent game.
So tell me, is that why you joined this Sports Tech Startup, Stars Group? What exactly are they doing?
You can say that these are the reasons I became intrigued by their idea. Stars Group is looking to create a platform that aligns the incentives of all clubs, players, and fans in a way that will change the football industry.
I am not a technology expert, but here’s what I do know, they are using blockchain and creating a “cryptocurrency” of sorts for Football to solve these issues. I’m not sure how much you know about this, and in all honesty it can be hard to grasp completely, but in the most simple of terms the blockchain is a massive database that is not monitored by a single individual nor governing body — a book or ledger that tracks all transactions. I had heard of bitcoin, but since learning about the Stars Group, I’ve definitely learned a lot more. Once I understood the impact “blockchain for football” would have, I knew I wanted to be part of this and help them briNg their vision to the game I love.
What kind of impact do you see Stars Group having on the football industry?
I want to see fans engage with teams on a whole new and more efficient level. I want them to feel part of this beautiful, growing sport and tight knit community. I believe that Stars Group truly wants this as well.
While I cannot disclose in detail what their platform will entail, I can tell you that one of the things they are doing is creating a marketplace for clubs, where fans can buy goods and services. However, this is just the beginning of what Stars will do. Maybe one day they will help UEFA tackle the issue of financial fair play and transparency in the football. I think their future is bright!
What do you hope to add to the Group as an Advisor?
As an advisor to Stars Group, I hope to add my experience and knowledge from the professional football world. While we have a variety of backgrounds on our advisor team, i’m the only current player. I feel it’s a great opportunity for me to bring a different perspective and insight to the discussions and long term vision.
That sounds like an exciting opportunity! I can’t wait to see what happens. I have one more question for you that I think all the readers and fans want to know; what is your secret to success?
Ahh, my secret is easy. I am committed to working hard with my team and we are constantly aiming for something big. The competition gets better every year, but if you are always reaching for more, you will never stop succeeding!
To learn more about Stars Group, visit starsgroup.io