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Monday, April 19, 2021

Online petition to end Qatar Airways’ Barca sponsorship gains traction

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Barcelona jersey
Barcelona jersey

A new online petition that calls on FC Barcelona to terminate its shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways over concerns for the airline’s female staff has attracted more than 50,000 signatures in three days.

The Sum of Us petition asks the Spanish football club to “cut ties” with Qatar’s national carrier “until workers’ conditions improve.”

Qatar Airways has come under pressure recently over its employment policies for women. Last month, the International Labour Organization (ILO) urged the airline to retool policies that dismiss flight attendants who become pregnant and ban them from accepting rides from male friends to and from their home.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker reportedly dismissed the ILO report’s findings, saying: “I don’t give a damn about the ILO – I am there to run a successful airline. This is evidence of a vendetta they have against Qatar Airways and my country.”

Nearly 53,000 people have so far signed up in support of the petition, which also calls for an end to Qatar’s controversial kafala sponsorship system.

In a statement on the petition website under the title “why is this important,” it adds:

“Qatar’s national employment system, kafala, is is cruel and brutal. Employers are allowed to prevent workers from leaving the country, even if they mistreat workers.

My message to the sporting world, Barcelona and FIFA: we cannot legitimize a company that exploits thousands of vulnerable workers. It is against the values of the sport. We need to drop Qatar Airways as a sponsor.”

Petition author

According to the website, the petition was created by Abdelslam Ouaddou, a former Moroccan international defender who played football in Qatar.

Abdeslam Ouaddou
Abdeslam Ouaddou

In 2010, Ouaddou moved here to play for Lekhwiya before joining Qatar SC in 2011 on a two-year deal.

However, the agreement soon turned sour when Ouaddou claimed he had not been paid for six months and filed a complaint with FIFA’s dispute resolution chamber, which he won in February last year.

During the dispute, Ouaddou said that he had been refused an exit permit until he dropped his complaint, sparking the footballer’s criticism of the state’s sponsorship system.

“When you work in Qatar you belong to someone. You are not free. You are a slave. Of course it is not the same situation as the [construction] workers in Qatar, but there is a parallel. It is the same methodology. They can throw you away like old socks,” he told CNN in 2013.

Shirt sponsorship

Qatar Airways took over sponsorship of FC Barcelona for the 2013-14 football season, after Qatar Foundation’s name had appeared on the shirts for the previous two years.

FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona

The QR700 million deal was signed in 2010, marking the first time in 111 years that the club had accepted money for an organization’s name on their shirts.

There are rumors that a new, five-year sponsorship deal between Qatar Airways and Barcelona has been agreed although nothing has been officially confirmed.

The football club’s presidential candidate Joan Laporta has reportedly said he will scrap the sponsorship agreement if he is elected.

ESPN reports that Laporta told Barcelona-based Spanish daily sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo:

“The club has many other way of generating revenue. It is a matter or values. I want to rescue the values of our club.”

In January this year, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned as the club president at the end of the football season this summer ahead of his reelection campaign, said the club was reconsidering its sponsorship agreement due to the “social and political” situation in Qatar.

Kafala complaints

Qatar’s kafala system has attracted criticism from human rights organizations across the world, since it won hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.

In May last year, it pledged to reform the system, but more than a year later little in the way of progress has been made.

Last month, the government issued an official statement pledging to have a final draft of the revised law done before the end of this year despite reservations held by members of Qatar’s Advisory (Shura) Council.

Last week, the council members approved a draft law, which will now be considered by the Cabinet.

Thoughts?

55 COMMENTS

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Ali
Ali
5 years ago

So now its ethics VS. money, i wonder who is going to win!

agenius
agenius
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

no. it’s not. for the club, it’s egg on the face versus a loss of revenue for the club. and nobody (especially nobody that relies on the goodwill of their fans to make money in the first place) wants egg on the face.

if it was simply a matter of “ethics”, you can bet it would be a very straightforward and obvious choice.

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  agenius

it is almost certain that the candidate who is supporting renewing the deal will win the election!

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

And which of the candidates are overtly supporting the renewal of the deal?

Bartomeu: We are 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… We must be sensitive about what is happening and make the best decision for Barcelona. [Agents] IMG are studying it and working with us. We will see when it happens in October 2015.’

La Porta:”The club has many other way of generating revenue. It is a matter or values. I want to rescue the values of our club.”

Freixa: “Qatar was necessary when we arrived [on the board]. We have to manage in that moment the way we found the club. It served a function, but it has been a controversial choice, some of the socios are uncomfortable with [Qatar], so it has to stop being a sponsor. There are alternatives.”

Benedito: “We have more than five companies better than Qatar”

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

These are old statements look at recent ones please, whenever there are fewer candidates the positions will change!

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

By all means please share with all the readers these newer, more recent statements in favour of Qatar Airways.

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

See, none of the candidates said directly and firmly NO we will not renew the deal! In any case if the candidates don’t want to renew the deal, why is the petition in the first place?!

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

This is what Benedito had to say at the end of June. Does this sound like someone about to change his mind.

“We won’t align ourselves with people who fund terrorism and disdain the rights of their workers”. Maybe he is just being the typical racist Westerner when he assumes that Qatar and Islamic terrorism are the same thing. I find it hard to believe that Qatar Airways would want to be involved with a club that makes such statements but what would I know.

The likelihood is that Bartomeu would try to retain the sponsorship, the other three candidates will definitely, under no circumstances, renew it. However if there is more pressure from things like this petition, Qatar Airways will be looking for a new team to sponsor

http://www.marca.com/en/2015/06/24/en/football/barcelona/1435159431.html

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

it is just for them to have their minute of fame. nothing else.

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

nice!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

They won’t succeed. Barca needs the money and they have a contract. If they try to break it, then Qatar Airways will take court action for damages and Barca need the money.

As for Albaker he is a disgrace to Qatar and businessmen everywhere.

“Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker reportedly dismissed the ILO report’s findings, saying: “I don’t give a damn about the ILO – I am there to run a successful airline. This is evidence of a vendetta they have against Qatar Airways and my country.”

I will abuse my staff so I can make lots of money for me and my country and I’ll just shout racist at anyone that questions me. Pathetic.

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

One of the presidential candidates, Benedito, is selling himself on the notion that he can get a shirt sponsor that will pay much more than what was offered by Qatar Airways. When asked about this recently he said:

Are they better offers than Qatar?
“But are they the only ones who can get good sponsors? They are offers of more than €60 million, way more! Actually, I don’t know how they haven’t been able to get more money. Manchester United gets €81 million. Barça’s jersey, especially after Berlin, is the most valued by the companies.”

Barcelona won’t be in breach of contract if they sign a new shirt sponsor – their existing arrangement is coming to an end and it’s time to renegotiate/wrap up the existing deal.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

If the contract is coming to an end that is a different matter and I can see Qatar Airways not being accepted again. It’s a toxic brand around the world, associated with abuses business practises and mistreatment of workers in Qatar especially women.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Toxic? Maybe you dont know much about Dow chemicals then….

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

I think you mean Union carbide

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

Yes that demonstration was a bit stupid. Dow bought UC but wasn’t responsible for the Bohpal disaster. Anyway the way the Indian government dealt with it was a disgrace, probably too busy counting their kick backs to care about their own people and justice.

johnny wang
johnny wang
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Who is this guy Al Baker anyway. He steps out of Qatar and nobody even notices this person

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

He is a clown. He never even makes live or real-time speeches or conferences where he talks, because he is incompetent to begin with. I would love to know his credentials, although I am sure these days money can buy degrees too.

It is a shame that Qatar have him to manage their airline. Heard many stories about this guy and how he treats women.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

Ignorance is bliss.

Paul
Paul
5 years ago

I wonder what it will take to implement human rights into a company..? Seriously, if you can’t run a business without the power of oppressing your employees, then how much of a manager are you

KK
KK
5 years ago

Well, I do not give a damn about Qatar Airways.

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

LOL. As if they give a damn about your measly business.

KK
KK
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Qatari’s can not take criticism that is why they do care. LOL

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

Maybe so when from a influential global body, a major media outlet, a respected foreign politician etc., but certainly not when it’s from some fool on DN!

Zeit
Zeit
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

‘Some fool on DN’ – lol

johnny wang
johnny wang
5 years ago

Well they say you can fool some of the people some of the time but certainly not all of the people all of the time and they for sure know they have got themselves into a human rights situation worse then that in North Korea and Cuba. The FIFA president himself must be wondering how he can justify awarding the world cups to such nations in the Middle East

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

with your logic, france shouldnt have been allowed to stage the world cup when its complicity in the Rwandan genocide was clear. Same thing about the rest of the Europeans when the massacre in Bosnia took place.
Go wonder even more…..

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

That is just pathetic. It is not as if France committed genocide, you are blaming them for not intervening. As for Bosnia it was the Europeans and Americans who ended up defending the Muslims who were getting slaughtered.

You are the sort of person that blames American for getting involved in foreign wars but when they don’t get involved you blame the, for letting people die. Shameful.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Shame on you. The Americans and Britisih let the genocide take place in Bosnia. Guess you didnt read the reports that came out a few days back. France provided the ammunition for the groups in rwanda to carry out genocide.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

For Bosnia you could also say the Russians stood back and let it happen as we well as the rest of the world but then again who is blameless these days. Saudi and Qatar armed their favourite religious groups in Libya, Egypt and Syria and look at the mess they have created. 100,000s dead and millions displaced. On top of that Saudi and Qatar have destablised Yemen and massacred thousands through their bombing campaigns. I don’t understand why the media is so silently in the Gulf when a humantarian disaster is on their doorstep.

Amber
Amber
5 years ago

Qatar Airways does treat their flight attendants badly. However it seems people have selective outrage. There is a campaign going against Qatar due to winning the World Cup.

I find it funny how western companies outsource their workers in places like China, Vietnam,India, and Bangladesh where the workers work long hours and little rights. And they do give a rats behind about it because they are getting cheap labor and large profit margin. Yet I don’t see anyone boycotting these companies. But when it comes to an Arab business all gloves come off.

If you want to boycott a business due to human rights violations then so be it. Folks should speak out against such violations. But people shouldn’t be selective about it. If you boycott one then go after the others.

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

I have been saying this for a while on here, double standards…

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Saleem has been saying this all along. The credible Saleem lol.

I think they should make Saleem the new Qatar Airways CEO. Saleem The funny clown hehehe lololol.

Tell us something man…spit some wisdome for us please lol

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

You’re gonna keep following me around like a lost dog? Do me a favor and stop replying to me, not only is your stalking creepy, but your typical low iq posts hurt my brain.

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Yes, I find your posts very humerous. Do you mind? I mean you are posting on a public forum after all. Low IQ posts? lololol

Common write more things.. please I beg you…Just anything.. chose a random topic and just talk about it lmao

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

Creepy weirdo…

Myrddin
Myrddin
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

“But people shouldn’t be selective about it. If you boycott one then go after the others.”

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/successfulboycotts.aspx

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/successfulboycotts.aspx

That took me around 30 seconds, if you need more, follow the refs.

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

No one is being selective and the earth we live in can never be a perfect place. But, certain things like being pregnant or having a boyfriend is NOT of any employer’s business. I would love if you can give me a name of any airline on earth that fires its staff for wanting to get married or for spending a night with their boyfriend. Common, there is a limit to things and Qatar seems to always want to cross that limit by far.

Amber
Amber
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

I’m not saying what QA is doing is right. But my point was that very few cooperations have their hands clean. If Barcelono drops QA as a sponsor they’ll probably get a another sponsor who is just as bad or worse. Other cooperations are just better at hiding their dirt.

If Qatar didn’t win the World Cup no one would give a flying rats behind about Qatar’s human rights violations. QA has been treating women like dirt for years. Why didn’t say or do anything about it until now? I have quite a few friends who work/worked as flight attendants for QA. So I know about of the nonsense that goes on.c

But the world only cares now because they don’t want an Arab/Muslim country hosting the World Cup.

Dubai could be hosting it but they would still have an issue. The only country in the Mid East they wouldn’t have an issue with is Israel lol.

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

Well because nobody knew what went on in Qatar before Qatar wanted to become a celebrity. People did not even know Qatar existed before winning the WC. Many people still don’t know that Qatar is a country!

No one cares about Muslims or not. The west has more Muslims than Qatar & Saudi & all the gulf countries combined. You think It is about Islam? Common, it is that attitude that makes Qatar even more hated.

It is simple. If Qatar wants fame and wants to be a celebrity, well that comes at a cost. No one would ever know that a country in 2015 is ran like a family business. Imagine a country that exploits its contacts with other nations’ presidents and even offer energy contracts for a sport event’s vote!… Who would think! heheh

It is NOT about Islam and it is NOT about Arabs. Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, Bahrain even… and many many more are Arabs and mostly Muslims… Why don’t people hate them? You think people would mind a World cup at any of these countries?

Amber
Amber
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

Yes they would mind. Westerns (in particularly Europeans) are very ignorant and hostile towards Arabs/muslims . If the WC was in Dubai they would startes picking at them as well. Dubai is no better than Qatar in terms of Human rights. Dubai was built on slave labors and still is. The same goes for the rest of the gulf.

But let the WC be in Israel and the whole world will gladly go there even though they are the biggest oppressors in the middle east.

Racism may not have everything to do thing to do with this because there are legitimate concerns about the logistics of having the WC in such a small country. I personally don’t think they should host it because it is just too small and they are still a young country. Maybe by 2032. But not 2022.

But a lot of this is fueled by prejudice. People were against it from the start even before they researched where Qatar was located on a map.

And the west having large number of Muslims means jack. The city I’m from back in the states probably has the highest number of muslims in the country. Everywhere you look there is a muslims. Halal shops and reatrurants are plenty. But people are still ignorant as fudge about muslims and arabs.

France has the highest number of muslims in France but they probably discriminate them the most.

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

“Everywhere you look there is a muslims”, “France has the highest number of muslims in France” – Very succinct and eloquently put.

Joking aside, you seem intent on portraying Islam as synonymous with Arabs and seem to be forgetting that South and South-East Asia have over a billion Muslims whereas only ~20% of Muslims are from Arab countries. Perhaps it is you that is ignorant?

Amber
Amber
5 years ago

Yes I know that south Asians make up the majority of Muslims in the world.

However most people in the west associate being Arab with being Muslim. Even though most Muslims aren’t Arab and not all Arabs are Muslim.

The average western that thinks of a middle eastern country is immediately going to think Muslims. They are not going to think of India or Indonesia when they think of Islam. Many are racist towards Arabs because they automatically think they are Muslims and they are bigoted towards Islam because they have these ignorant preconcieved notions about it.

Please explain to me how I am personally trying to associate Arabs with Islam. I was merely stating what people’s perceptions are. I personally don’t associate the two as myself being a non- Arab American muslim.

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

Who in your opinion is an “average westerner”? an American?, Cuban?, Mexican?, Colombian, German?, Brit?, South African?, Kiwi or maybe a Norwegian?

Do you honestly believe that the views, opinions and ideas held by all the individuals from the “western world” and universal and consistent throughout?

I think if you sat down and spent some time reassessing your argument you would come to the conclusion that your generalization is somewhat extreme.

Akmal farah
Akmal farah
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

Wow, you really have it all wrong with your propaganda and prejudice calls. Again, Europe and the West contain MORE Muslims in them than the persian Gulf countries combined all together. Even Muslims in these countries have issues with the way Qatar treats its people. (The person who started the petition about Qatar is MUSLIM!)

The problem with Qatar is that it wants to be a celebrity and not change its behavior or views. Look at Saudi Arabia for example, they are worse than Qatar in the eyes of many activists, BUT no one cares because Saudi Arabia is not trying to wear multiple and CONFLICTING hats in the same time. If Qatar wants to be a celebrity, they need to change their attitude and behavior and this is by NOT by pulling the racism card every time they are criticized.

How can they even pull this card out when the reason they are being targeted is EXACTLY for that reason! (i.e. I have worked in Qatar and the West and Africa) NOT one country on earth treats its people the way Qatar does (Dubai is LIGHT years ahead of Qatar on that one too.. in Dubai, rules apply on all!). Maybe Saudi does, but Saudi is not marketing and branding itself as the perfect open minded host either!

You really need to stop this mindset. There is right and there is wrong in life. When someone does something bad and goes to court, their lawyer does not tell the judge, “listen sir, my defendant is not the only one who killed a person… look in afghanistan!…or my defendant is wrong but you should not sentence him because he has an inferiority complex!) This is not the way it works.

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  Akmal farah

well said indeed

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber

Barcelona probably has adolescent labor in Vietnam making all their shirts; yet people are up in arms over a tiny logo that appears on it. Truly morons. The West is only selective on human rights abuses because many of us are bigoted and look for any chance to denigrate Arabs and Muslims. They don’t give a toss about their allegations, their only agenda is to make the ‘Mooslem’ appear as monsters. I’m very sure of that now. We should still be criticizing Qatar for its numerous human rights abuses but should not be in the business of white washing Western companies to disguise our own abuses. It’s disgusting.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago

When you read about Barcelonas community values it always seemed like a very odd fit … Qatar has a growing image problem which needs to be fixed … Start with properly dealing with Kafala

Joe
Joe
5 years ago

Perhaps Qatar has realized that big guys bend the rules. They joined the club, prematurely perhaps, but they took their chances. Events will tell whether it is worth it.
A question that should be asked by the idle majority: is this going to create a sustainable prosperity for its citizens. Or is it just short sighted show off?

guest
guest
5 years ago

Racists! Haters! They hate us because of our money!!!

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  guest

no, they hate you because of your attitude, and the desire do dismiss just causes because of envy or racism !

sicti
sicti
5 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

Guest was being sarcastic, mate 🙂

MarkDoha
MarkDoha
5 years ago

A little above and to the left of the Qatar Airways logo is another logo of a sports clothing manufacturer called Nike. For decades Nike has been accused of initially supporting and more recently turning a blind eye to working practices and conditions at the factories of its third world suppliers that make Qatar Airways look like Google by comparison. What no outcry from Barca fans about Nike? Sorry is that double standards or just the usual mix of jealousy and loathing against a wealthy Arab country?

Qatar is not perfect, however, the change and advancement this country has undertaken over the last twenty years would leave any nation dazed and a bit confused. Qatar is going through economic, cultural, educational and social change that took the west over a century to swallow (plus two world wars and communism), yet Qatar is expected to do it in ten and get it right first time.

As Sheikha Moza said recently ‘Give us time’.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
5 years ago

Barcelona had never a sponsor; the club was also historically anti-Franco anti-fascism. I think it’s their right to have a petition like this!

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