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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Qatar Airways, FC Barcelona extend contract for one more season


FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona

After months of negotiations, Qatar’s national carrier and FC Barcelona have extended their partnership for one more year.

In a statement, the Spanish football club said the tie-up will last until June 30, 2017, under the same conditions as the current deal.

FC Barcelona’s vice-president of marketing and communication Manel Arroyo thanked Qatar Airways for helping the team thrive, adding:

“It is a pleasure to be able to work together for another season and we hope to continue along the same lines of mutual growth.”

FC Barcelona's new 2016 away jersey, sponsored by Qatar Airways
FC Barcelona’s new 2016 away jersey, sponsored by Qatar Airways

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said he was happy to be extending the partnership.

Neither group commented on why the agreement was only for one year, but there are rumors that Barca is talking to Amazon about a longer sponsorship contract.

Long negotiation

In 2011, FC Barcelona signed a multi-million dollar five-year agreement with Qatar Sports Investment, a subsidiary of the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

Until 2013, Barca sported Qatar Foundation’s logo on its shirts, its first corporate sponsor in its more than 100-year history.

During the subsequent three years of the contract, the team has been sporting Qatar Airways logos on its shirts.

As the end of last season approached, the two parties butted heads over the terms of a new agreement.

New 2016/17 FC Barcelona kit
New 2016/17 FC Barcelona kit

In May, it looked like there was no chance of a contract renewal, after Barcelona released a new kit that didn’t have any logo on the front, save for a Nike swoosh.

And earlier this month, Qatar Airways stopped showing its new in-flight safety video that featured famous athletes from Barca.

Now that the team has renewed for another year, fans will likely be hoping the club will finally play a friendly match in Qatar.

Though that was one of the terms of the deal, the game has been called off three times, most recently in May when the club cited a clash with “other important sporting events.”


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