FC Barcelona, Qatar Air ink sponsorship deal
Qatar Airways will become the main shirt sponsor of Spanish football giants FC Barcelona from the 2013-14 season, it has been announced.
The new sponsorship deal is part of a $225m five-year agreement between the Spanish La Liga club and Qatar Sports Investments which was first announced last year.
FC Barcelona has unveiled its new first team home shirt for the 2011/12 season, bearing the Qatar Foundation name as part of a sponsorship deal.
At the same time, Qatar Sports Investments has designated Qatar Foundation - the current shirt sponsors - as the official human development partner of FC Barcelona.
Sandro Rosell, president of FC Barcelona, said in a statement posted on the club's official website that Qatar Airways was “an ambitious brand with global aspirations, always committed to achieving the utmost excellence in its field".
He added: "These are objectives with which FC Barcelona fully identifies.”
The contract signed with QSI permits the possibility of including a new logo on the shirt from the third season of the agreement.
Rosell said: “After sharing two fantastic years with Qatar Foundation, we are delighted to be continuing our relationship by welcoming them as our official human development partner.”
Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, added: “We are delighted to form this alliance with FC Barcelona, the biggest football club in the world.
"Qatar Airways has been voted Best Airline in the World for two consecutive years and will work with FC Barcelona on activities of benefit both to fans and passengers, offering tangible rewards to both organisations.”
A Qatar Foundation spokesperson said its sponsorship of the club had been a "huge success".
"In fact, the first two years of the collaboration have surpassed our expectations and we are looking to deepen and strengthen our relationship with FC Barcelona and its supporters around the world in our continued role as a proud partner of the club,” the spokesperson added.
Prior to the Qatar Foundation agreement, FC Barcelona was one of the few sides in world soccer not to have a corporate logo on their shirts, instead displaying the name of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), for which they paid the organisation 1.5 million euros ($2m) a year.