barcelona qatar foundationBarcelona signed a five-and-a-half year shirt sponsorship deal worth up to 170 million euros ($225 million) with the non-profit Qatar Foundation in December touted as the largest sponsorship deal in football history.

But the club's decision to collect money for the first time in its history to display a logo on its jerseys did not go down well with many fans who have pressured Barcelona's board to re-think the deal at a meeting on Saturday.

Barcelona's legendary former Dutch coach Johan Cruyff has blasted the endorsement deal as "vulgar" while former club president Joan Laporta has said he would prefer to see the jerseys carry only the logo of UNICEF, an image which has "a message, a cause".

Guardiola, who played for Qatar's Al Ahly between 2003 and 2005 and who was one of the ambassadors for the nation's successful 2022 World Cup bid, has stepped into the debate in comments published on the club's official website.

"I can tell you that I lived for two years in Qatar and my family and I received wonderful treatment," the 40-year-old said.

"These are difficult times and the board has the obligation to search for alternatives. Qatar is the most open Muslim country and the closest to the Western democracies, but they need time".

Guardiola concluded by saying: "If the members decide to continue, then we will still have the sponsorship of a foundation which is doing things for research and for culture. If not, then we will move ahead with different resources. Whatever happens, the players will continue to run and fight, which in the end is the most important thing".

The Qatar Foundation, founded in 1995, has set up projects focusing on education, scientific research and community development, mainly in the Middle East.

It is run by the wife of Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani who seized power from his father in a bloodless coup in 1995 and in 2003 declared his son Tamim heir apparent.

Part of the opposition to the shirt sponsorship deal stems from the lack of democracy in Qatar, which has no organised opposition groups and where parliamentary elections have repeatedly been postponed.

Thousands of Barcelona fans have signed a petition to demand that the agreement be revoked and the club's board decided to let representatives of club members to decide on Saturday if the deal will remain in place.

 

Comments (6)

  1. irish michael

terrible!!:sad:

 
  1. maciel

Suggestion?

 
  1. irish michael

get rid of those shamrock looking yokes! they ruin the kit IMHO

 
  1. Agustin

i agree. may be plain orange or in another tone of orange insted of green

 
  1. fsc

Prefer the sponsorless Barca shirt and the sentiment behind it. In a money led industry it is not surprising they looked at sponsorship. At least the fans and those against the sponsor are being listened to.

 
  1. fsc

The UNESCO logo was classy, but it amounted to a classy Trojan Horse (get fans used to A logo, then spring this on them)<br /><br />Qatar are far from being the sort of country one would want ties to, they have repressive attitudes towards gays and lesbians (up to executions), they do not have democracy, and they bribed their way into becoming the worst place to host a World Cup in what will be a decade of bad places to host a World Cup.<br /><br />What sort of non-profit can justify dumping €170million on a shirt logo anyway? Sorry if this sounds like a rant, and if Qatar become a pluralistic tolerant democracy no one will be happier than I, but this particular example gets me mad.

 
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