Johannesburg, Nov 17(ANI): Spanish giants Barcelona have replaced their shirt sponsors Qatar Foundation with Qatar Airways, and will display a purely corporate advertisement for the first time under a 210-million dollar deal approved last year.
Qatar Airways will feature on the Barca shirts for the 2013-2014 season, the Catalan club said.
The airline will replace the Qatar Foundation, which currently features on the front of the Barcelona jersey with the United Nation’s children’s fund UNICEF displayed on the back, Sports24 reports.
Barcelona signed the five-and-a-half year shirt sponsorship, touted as the richest in football history, in December 2010 and it was approved by club members in September last year.
The decision to allow commercial advertising on the shirt provoked heated debate among fans, with Barcelona’s legendary former Dutch coach Johan Cruyff saying in 2010 that it was sullying the jersey.
Though the deal signed with Qatar Sports Investments initially placed the Qatar Foundation on the club’s shirts, it included a clause allowing a switch in sponsor after the first two seasons.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said he would work with Barcelona to benefit both the club’s fans and its passengers.
“We are delighted to form this alliance with FC Barcelona, the biggest football club in the world,” Al Baker said. (ANI)