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Friday, December 3, 2021

Barcelona cancels Qatar friendly, promises to play local match by 2016

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FC BarcelonaA busy playing schedule has forced FC Barcelona to cancel a planned friendly match in Qatar for the second year in a row, a team official has said.

The club was initially supposed to play a game in Qatar in February 2014, but that match was cancelled and later rescheduled to this month.

However, local fans of the famous football club are still being promised a chance to see its stars in action at some point before 2016 as the team is obliged to play a game in Qatar under the terms of its sponsorship agreement, said Javier Faus, the vice-president of FC Barcelona’s finance and strategy department.

“This is the only free week the players have throughout the whole season,” Faus said at a press conference yesterday afternoon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha.

“We were asked strongly by the team and the coach to let them rest this week … (But) we have an obligation to play a friendly match (in Qatar), and we will.”

Sponsorship questions

FC Barcelona players Gerard Piqué, right, and Neymar da Silva
FC Barcelona players Gerard Piqué, right, and Neymar da Silva

Faus was in town along with players Gerard Piqué and Neymar da Silva to launch a new marketing campaign with team sponsor Qatar Airways.

Qatar Foundation became the first paid sponsor in FC Barcelona’s history to have its logo appear on the team’s jerseys under a deal signed in December 2010 that’s reported to be worth €150 million (QR623 million). Qatar Foundation’s logo was later replaced with that of Qatar Airways.

The agreement expires in 2016, and signs emerged late last month that FC Barcelona may be cool to renew its relationship with Qatar.

Media reports said club president Josep Maria Bartomeu told a Spanish radio station that the club is “sensitive to the current situation in Qatar, which has changed since four years ago.”

“Now there are social and political aspects which were not there when we signed,” he said.

Some have suggested that the club’s brand is suffering due to its association with Qatar, which has been criticized for the poor living and working conditions of its large migrant workforce.

Others, however, have argued that Bartomeu is using Qatar to build up political capital ahead of this year’s club presidential elections, mounting a “Clean up Barca’s image” campaign amid scandals involving allegations of signing underage players and illegal tax avoidance.

A Qatar Airways plane in FC Barcelona livery.
A Qatar Airways plane in FC Barcelona livery.

When asked yesterday about Bartomeu’s comments, Faus said the club has hired a firm to “assess the marketplace” for other potential sponsors ahead the current deal expiring, but appeared to be open to renewing its deal with the Gulf airline.

“We are extremely satisfied with Qatar Airways,” he said.

“There are zero problems with Qatar Airways, zero problems with Qatar. And we will definitely hope that this partnership lasts many, many more years,” subject to the recommendations of its outside consultant, he added.

For his part, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker dismissed Bartomeu’s comments outright.

“We don’t get carried away by comments of people who may say something which really they don’t mean,” he said, advising reporters to “ignore political statements.”

FC Barcelona will make a decision on its next sponsor in the second half of 2015, Faus said.

Thoughts?

30 COMMENTS

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johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

Looks like its an open secret which everyone knows about but would prefer not to talk about until it really matters

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

Can anyone enlighten me about the purpose of the sponsorship of Barcelona by QF? I understand that Qatar Airways wants to get more visibility in European and international markets and therefore needs a high-profile sponsorship and marketing campaign, but what about Qatar Foundation?

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I will take a guess at it. I assume that up until QF sponsored the club, the front of the jersey was UNICEF. The transition from charity sponsorship signage to corporate sponsorship was bridged by first using Qatar Foundation, because hey, if they were no longer all in with a logo that supports poor kids, the second best thing would be an organization that encourages education (thus, half the uproar from fans before going all in with the move to Qatar Airways). Again, just a stab in the dark with this one…

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Wow! This is a bit too stretched. My point was about QF’s logic not Barcelona’s. Why does QF need to invest half a billion riyals to promote its universities/charity/whatever? And what was the ROI eventually?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Well whatever it was they spent a lot of money on the sponsorship and then had zero idea how to exploit it. They had no marketing people with the experience of this sort of sponsorship deal, so just spent the money and did nothing. Crazy.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

The unis are at or above capacity so they’re not hurting for students. I think it’s called bling.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Judging by the description of the sponsorship by FC Barcelona (http://www.fcbarcelona.com/Sponsors/qatar-foundation/detail/card/qatar-foundation), it was not much based on the charity aspect of QF, but more on everything QF is supposedly aiming to achieve, from scientific excellence to promoting tolerance to improving education to transtioning Qatar to a knowledge society and all that bla bla bla. My question: what was the point of QF doing this? 🙂

Heisenberg
Heisenberg
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Why not, this the best way to introduce Qatar to the world

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Sorry about the late response, I took a day away from reading DN to enjoy the outdoors. Your question of what was the point of QF doing the sponsorship deal. Again, just a guess, but maybe the QF was not making the final decision on this one! The QF might have been volun-told to do it as a play in a larger game. After all, QF and QA are both owned by the State of Qatar and if your paymaster says ‘jump’ your only reasonable response would be to ask ‘how high?’

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

That’s correct

rashid
rashid
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Darling, it doesn’t work this way. Qatar Sport Investment (QSI) is behind the sponsorship deal, and as part of the deal they got the contract to include a possibility of changing the sponsor. And thus they’ve chosen Qatar Foundation and later on Qatar Airways. QF didnt pay a dime.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  rashid

Where did you get this from? 🙂 Ok let’s assume what you are saying is right, my point is still valid. Why on Earth would the QSI give a half a billion riyal investment to QF? 🙂

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Cause QF is chaired by the mother of the person chairing QSI …

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Ooooo you joined the dots….

I wonder why no one else on DN, gets this. It’s a closed club…….

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Ok…. You kinda confirmed my doubts, that the QF deal was pretty much useless and a huge waste of money.
As an expat, the politics of who owns what and how in Qatar are not something I can easily understand 🙂

Blue
Blue
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

The Sponsorship has been done by the Qatar government – Qatar Sports Investment.

The object is to create awareness of the brand ‘Qatar’.

Qatar Foundation being an organisation which is focused on education and community development was the initial choice post the UNICEF branding. Qatar Airways would not have well received.

Qatar has a choice to rotate the organisation – so perhaps next season you might see another ‘Qatar’ named organisation on the FCB shirts

Heisenberg
Heisenberg
6 years ago

They take millions in sponsorship and they cannot make time to play a friendly?!!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Heisenberg

In December 2010 it was 623 million riyals. I assume this year with QA it is over a billion.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Heisenberg

It was there only week off and the players asked for rest.

Heisenberg
Heisenberg
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

What about the other 104 weeks in 2014 and 2013?
You’re a Barca fan aren’t you 😉

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Heisenberg

He’s not a Barca fan, he’s a Qatar hater.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

whomever hijacked my UN… what does my comment have to do with Qatar hating?

In the offseason the players have no contractual obligation to play and thus probably wouldn’t seeing the players at this level are usually busy with WC, European, S. American, etc qualifying for various championships in between.

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

The last thing they want to do is come and play a friendly over here in the middle of the season.
Man City were heavily criticised for playing in Abu Dhabi last month. They played in the league the day after flying back and lost.
I wonder if Qatar Airways were clever when part of the contract to play a game here also mentioned that the top players should also be present? Otherwise whenever Barcelona do come to play here, they will just send a load of kids and reserves

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Good enough

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Who cares. Probably best they don’t come, watching these friendlies is a pointless waste of time for any true sports fan

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Like drinking zero alcohol beer 🙂

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Haha, so true. Like turkey ham. If you are going to go for it go all on.

The Barbican adverts do make me laugh though…..

Blue
Blue
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yup no more Friendlies…..

…..the only good intl match since 2009 was the recently held Super Copa – cause they had something to play for.

A Jones
A Jones
6 years ago

Makes me laugh. Qatar Airways pays sponsorship to Bracelona and all of a sudden the nation are Barca fans when most of them couldn’t even show you where it is on a map or even which country it’s in. PSG was in vogue when Becks signed for 5 mins. They would buy FC Eastbourne shirts if someone here invested in them.

ahmed
ahmed
6 years ago

every day FCbarcelona says that they will move the match 1 year. i do not even think that they will ever play in Qatar.
crap barça.

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