Barcelona have announced that they’re ending one of their key traditions by accepting a shirt sponsor for the first time in history. For just over €150m, the Qatar Foundation’s logo will appear on the famous red and blue shirts for five years starting in 2011. Last night vice-president Javier Faus defended the decision:
“It is not a commercial brand but a non-government organisation in a country that wants publicity through education and sport, and, as everybody knows, through organising the 2022 World Cup … Barcelona needs the money to face up to our €420m debt.”
Barcelona currently pay international children’s charity Unicef to wear its logo on their shirts. That agreement stays in place and in three weeks’ time a newly designed logo, which combines the two sponsors, will be unveiled.
In one sense it is surprising that they haven’t had a sponsor sooner, but it does seem a little ironic to me that they are merging the logos of two organisations who sometimes end up working on the opposite side, as Unicef defends the rights of the very people whose freedoms are restricted in Qatar.