Qatar Airways will be the new main shirt sponsor for Spanish football club FC Barcelona for the 2013-14 season, as part of its five-year deal with Qatar Sports Investments.
The $225 million contract, which was announced last year, has so far seen the Qatar Foundation occupy the main spot on the famous football strip of what is arguably one of the greatest club sides ever seen.
The deal between the Spanish football club and Qatar Sports Investments (QIS) included a clause allowing a change in shirt sponsor in the third season of the agreement.
The change will see Qatar’s flagship airline become the new main shirt sponsor while the Qatar Foundation will become the official human development partner of the club.
Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said: “We are delighted to form this alliance with FC Barcelona, the biggest football club in the world. Qatar Airways…will work with FC Barcelona on activities of benefit both to fans and passengers, offering tangible rewards to both organisations.”
A Qatar Foundation spokesperson added: “When we started this fantastic journey with FC Barcelona, our objective was to work closely with the club, the team and the supporters to promote awareness of Qatar Foundation on an international scale.
“This has 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.”
Sandro Rosell, president of FC Barcelona, said Qatar Airways is, “an ambitious brand with global aspirations, always committed to achieving the utmost excellence in its field. These are objectives with which FC Barcelona fully identifies.”
“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.”
For many years Barcelona were renown for not having a main shirt sponsor at all, having not needed the financial help, for which their shirt became famous for simply bearing the club’s badge.
However in preparation for eventually needing a sponsor, the side took the unusual approach of paying global charity UNICEF to display the company’s logo on its shirt.
This eventually led the way to a conventional shirt sponsor deal with the Qatar Foundation.