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DOHA: The agreement that will see Qatar Airways feature as the main sponsor on FC Barcelona’s jerseys will be unveiled on Monday, the club has announced on its website. Qatar’s flag carrier landed the opportunity to become the first corporate sponsor to appear on Barca’s shirts last year.
The presentation will take place in Barcelona in the presence of the club’s president, Sandro Rosell, and the airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker.
In November 2012, FC Barcelona and Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) announced that Qatar Airways would appear on the team’s equipment for the 2013/14 season as the club’s principal global partner.
The contract between QSI and FC Barcelona stipulated that a new sponsor could be included in the third year of the agreement.
Also in November, QSI, in agreement with the club, designated Qatar Foundation as the official Human Development Partner of FC Barcelona, in order to enable the continuity of initiatives based on their shared values.
It’s the first time a corporation rather than a charity will feature on the club’s jerseys, which have carried the names of UNICEF (since 2006) and Qatar Foundation (since 2011) in recent years. Before these two non-profit organisations, the club’s players sported a ‘sponsor-clean’ shirt.
The airline will replace Qatar Foundation, the main sponsor on the jerseys since July 2011. The contract with the Foundation was for €30m (over QR149m) to be paid in five seasons, until June 2016. In addition, the club was to pocket €15m (QR71m) through commercial rights, with the total amount reaching €170m (QR809m).
Relations between FC Barcelona and Qatari companies have deepened recently with the Qtel Group choosing the club’s star player, Lionel Messi, as its new brand ambassador. The company announced its rebranding as Ooredoo in Barcelona during the GSMA Mobile World Congress.