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Fri 11 Feb 2011 11:05 AM

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Barcelona to drop UNICEF logo from shirt front

Spanish champions will have ‘Qatar Foundation’ emblazoned on their shirt fronts from July 1

Barcelona to drop UNICEF logo from shirt front
Barcelonas president Sandro Rosell shakes hands with Saif Ali Al-Hajari, vice president of the Qatar Foundation, and Ahmad al Sulaiti, executive director of Qatar Sports Investment (Getty Images)

Barcelona plan to drop the UNICEF logo from the front of their first-team shirts from July and replace it with the name of their new Qatari sponsor, a vice president of the La Liga club has said.

The Spanish champions are one of the few clubs in world soccer not to have a corporate logo on their shirts, instead displaying the name of the United Nations Children's Fund, for which they pay the organisation €1.5m a year.

However, they last month agreed a record five-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Sports Investment worth €30m a season and will have "Qatar Foundation" emblazoned on their shirt fronts from July 1.

"It has been decided that the Qatar Foundation logo will go on the front of the shirt, on the breast," Barca vice president Javier Faus said at a news conference.

"In the end, there will be only two words 'Qatar Foundation' in yellow," he added. "UNICEF will go on the back underneath the player's name."

The sponsorship deal, the biggest for any soccer club, will net as much as €170m, including €15m for commercial rights for the current season and a bonus for winning titles that could be as much as €5m.

The agreement with the Emirate prompted allegations they had sold out and were compromising their ideals for material gain.

Barca officials argued that the injection of funds at a delicate time for the club's finances was necessary to pay for the development of their sports teams.

"We continue to have significant structural problems, which we have been burdened with for some years, but which are our structural problems now and which we have to deal with," Faus said.

"We have solved some of them with the Qatar Foundation sponsorship deal but we still have many challenges ahead."

Faus said it was not clear whether the UNICEF logo would be allowed to appear on shirts worn in the Champions League, Europe's elite club competition.

"What we can guarantee is that every FC Barcelona shirt that is sold around the world will have the UNICEF logo on the back."

Qatar was chosen in December by soccer's governing body FIFA to host the World Cup in 2022, when it will become the first Arab country to stage the finals.

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