It pays to wait, apparently. After going 111 years without a shirt sponsor, FC Barcelona has signed a whopping five-year €165m deal with the Qatari Foundation. The deal, considered the richest in sports history, will give the reigning La Liga champions approximately €10m more per season than rivals Real Madrid receive from betting firm Bwin. So unless Norbert & Manfred make with the cash — and quick — it will be Barca who sign up Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas next summer, not Madrid.
Barcelona players have worn a UNICEF logo on their jersey since 2006, but the team paid UNICEF €1.5m/year for the privilege of doing so. (Shrewd business sense, Barca. How about paying fans to attend matches?) However, with the team’s debts amounting to a staggering €420m, that extra €30m or so a year coming in from Qatar will surely come in handy. But the team isn’t kicking UNICEF to the curb. It’s believed Barca will soon unveil a jersey design that incorporates both UNICEF and Qatari Foundation logos. The Qatari Foundation was established in 1995 to foster ‘education, scientific research and community development in Qatar, the Middle East and beyond.’
It’s been quite the week for Qatar. First they’re awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup, now they land the Barcelona jersey. What’s next? Hosting the Winter Olympics?