By Staff writer
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten takes Qatari flag-carrier’s place on Spanish side’s shirts
The Qatar Airways brand will not appear on the shirts of one of the world’s most successful football teams from the end of this season.
Barcelona FC, the current Spanish champions, has signed a sponsorship deal with Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten, in a deal worth $58 million a year.
"This agreement puts us at the forefront of sports club sponsorships, which has always been an objective for the current board of directors," said the Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The deal means that Barcelona’s previous deal with the Qatari flag-carrier, which began in 2013 and was worth an estimated $30 million a year, will cease at the close of the 2016-2017 season.
Reports in Spain had suggested that Qatar Airways, Amazon and China’s Huawei had all been in the running for the new shirt sponsorship deal.
Rival Emirates is the shirt sponsor for several European football sides, including England’s Arsenal, Italy’s AC Milan, France’s Paris St-Germain and Portugal’s Benfica.For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.