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Dubai’s Emirates to end sponsorship of Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain

Dubai’s Emirates to end sponsorship of Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain

The sponsorship is understood to have become difficult for Emirates after the UAE and Qatar severed ties

Dubai’s Emirates Airline plans to end its shirt sponsorship of Qatar-owned football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) when the current deal expires, according to reports.

The move comes as ties between the UAE and Qatar remain fraught after the former joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in a boycott of Doha last year.

Bloomberg cited an Emirates spokesperson as confirming Emirates’ current sponsorship of PSG, which began in 2006, would not be renewed.

PSG told the business new service it was seeking more cash after the record EUR222m ($253.5m) purchase of Brazilian star Neymar in August 2017 and more recent purchase of French World Cup hero Kylian Mbappe.

The sponsorship is believed to have become an uncomfortable fit for Emirates, which has not flown to Doha since the UAE and its allies severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties in June 2017 over Qatar’s alleged support of terrorist groups.

Read: UAE refutes Qatar’s allegations that it violated convention on discrimination

Qatar Sports Investments bought PSG in 2011 and has made it one of the world’s wealthiest clubs.

Bloomberg said Emirates declined to say if it would sponsor a rival French team.

It currently sponsors top clubs in Europe’s major leagues including Arsenal in the English Premier League, Real Madrid in Spain’s La Liga and AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A.

The airline renewed its sponsorship of Arsenal in February, describing the agreement as one of football’s ‘biggest ever deals’.

Read: Dubai’s Emirates renews Arsenal sponsorship in one of football’s ‘biggest ever’ deals

French sports newspaper L’Equipe previously reported in August that PSG was seeking new sponsors. It said president and chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi wanted an agreement worth EUR80 ($91m) a season from the current figure believed to be around EUR30m ($34m).

Bloomberg cited a source as saying one potential alternative for Emirates could be French rival Olympique de Marseille, which is currently sponsored by telecoms firm Orange in a deal that expires next summer.

The airline could also opt not to sponsor another French team due to financial pressures.

Emirates reported an 86 per cent drop in first half profit last week and said it would continue to face falling yields and higher fuel costs.

Read: Dubai airline Emirates posts 86% drop in H1 profit, warns of ‘tough’ times ahead

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