FC Barcelona unveils Qatar Airways as new shirt sponsors

MUMBAI: Spanish football club FC Barcelona has further strengthened its Qatar connection by signing a strategic sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways that sees the airline‘s brand name appear on first team shirts from the start of the 2013/14 season.

The three-year agreement with the runaway Spanish league leaders will be effective from 1 July. The airline brand will become the club‘s Global Main Partner, signaling the first time the airline has engaged in a sponsorship with a major soccer club.

Qatar Airways will replace current shirt sponsors Qatar Foundation who will continue its relationship with FC Barcelona as Human Development Partner.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said, "The alignment with Barca is a fitting match for both organisations, which will elevate the brands to a new platform on the global stage and sharing the same values - passionate about being the best at what we do in our respective fields."

FC Barcelona, the reigning Copa del Rey - Spanish Cup - champions, is a club steeped in history dating back more than 100 years. Owned by the fans and by the people of Catalonia, the club is one of the richest in the world, home to world-class players, including the world‘s best player Lionel Messi.

Club president Sandro Rosell said, "From July 1, we will be able to work with global company Qatar Airways, with whom we share many things such as the search for excellence. This sponsorship deal will bring great advantages, not just for the Club, but also for our city and our country."

As part of the agreement with Qatar Airways, the airline‘s name will adorn, from the start of the 2013/14 season, Barca first-team shirts at La Liga matches across Spain, Champions League matches across Europe, as well as friendly matches, including FC Barcelona‘s pre-season tours.

The airline will be working with FC Barcelona on creating joint initiatives, centering on added value flight and holiday packages for fans globally, as well as a host of community programmes involving loyal followers across the world ensuring both brands remain at the pinnacle of their respective fields.

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